(Corrects milestone payments in sixth paragraph to 800 million
crowns from 800 crowns; corrects dateline to Feb 22)
COPENHAGEN Feb 22 Danish biotech drugmaker
Genmab expects sales of Darzalex, used to fight cancer
in bone marrow, to surpass $1 billion this year to become a
blockbuster drug, the company said on Wednesday.
In fiscal 2016, the firm hiked its revenue and operating
profit guidance six times on the back of the strong performance
of Darzalex, which is currently approved to treat multiple
myeloma. Drugs that generate at least $1 billion of annual
revenue are known as blockbuster drugs.
Net sales of Darzalex, which was approved in November 2015
and is marketed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), are now
expected to reach between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion this
year, up from $572 million in 2016, Genmab said.
Analysts, on average, believe Darzalex could generate as
much as $1.18 billion revenue this year and $2.53 billion by
2020, according to data from Thomson Reuters Cortellis.
Shares in the Danish company have surged by more than 3,200
percent in the past five years as it has morphed from a
cash-burning biotech into a profitable business with actual
drugs on the market.
Genmab receives tiered royalties from J&J on its sales and
expects to receive Darzalex royalties of 930 million to 1,100
million Danish crowns ($132-$156 million) and 800 million crowns
in milestone payments this year.
Operating income for 2016 came in at 1.1 billion crowns and
is expected in the range of 900-1,100 million crowns in 2017.
With a market capitalisation of $12 billion, Genmab is
Europe's second-biggest biotech company behind Actelion
, although both still lag well behind U.S. groups like
Gilead, Amgen and Celgene.
Genmab's chief executive Jan van de Winkel has previously
told Reuters he thinks Darzalex sales could surpass $10 billion
a year if the drug is approved for a wider range of cancers.
($1 = 7.0497 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)