Biopharmaceutical company Celgene Corp. (CELG) said it expects first-quarter earnings per share for 2009, adjusted for items, to increase about 20% from the year-ago period. However, the company's first quarter earnings forecast is below analysts' expectations. The company also said that its earnings and revenue for 2009 would come in at the low end of its prior guidance ranges. The announcement sent the company's stock down by nearly 10% in the extended trade on Tuesday.

The Summit, New Jersey-based company said preliminary unaudited results indicate that total revenue for the first quarter of 2009 increased to about $600 million, up nearly 30% from last year, despite U.S. patient co-pay assistance and increased U.S. free goods to patients, as well as fewer shipping days in the quarter.

Celgene said first-quarter earnings per share are expected to increase nearly 20% year-over-year based on preliminary unaudited results. For the year-ago period non-GAAP earnings were $0.36 per share.

On average, 20 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters look for first-quarter earnings of $0.48 per share with the range varying between $0.40 per share and $0.52 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items. Revenue is estimated to be $647.13 million.

For 2009, Celgene reaffirmed its non-GAAP earnings guidance of $2.05-$2.15 per share and revenue guidance of $2.6 billion-$2.7 billion. Analysts expect 2009 earnings in the range of $2.05-$2.28 per share with a consensus of $2.16 per share. The Street looks for revenues of $2.77 billion in 2009 with the estimates in the range of $2.69 billion-$2.83 billion. The company added that it expects to achieve results at the lower end of its guidance ranges.

Celgene is targeting multiple myeloma treatment Revlimid's product sales in 2009 to increase to about $1.7 billion, driven by initiatives to expand its worldwide commercial potential, continued global market share gains and longer treatment durations. The company expects that sales of Vidaza, for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes, will nearly double to about $400 million.

Celgene expects cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities to increase to nearly $3.1 billion by end of year 2009.

During 2009, Celgene expects to advance multiple clinical, regulatory, commercial and financial initiatives in its global operations. The company recently launched Vidaza in the European Union.

The company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sol Barer will provide an overview of corporate developments and outlook for 2009 milestones at the 4th Annual Citi Biotech Day.

Further, the company reaffirmed its five year outlook as it believes the aggressive global expansion of its hematology and oncology franchise, characterized by multiple product launches in various countries, combined with significant operating leverage, improving gross margins and tax rates, should facilitate top line growth of approximately 20% and bottom line growth of approximately 25% to 30%.

CELG closed Tuesday's regular trade at $44.40, down $0.95 or 2.09%, on 5.29 million shares. The stock dropped $4.40 or 9.91% in the extended trade.

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