AmerisourceBergen expects possible 20 percent earnings increase
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. AmerisourceBergen will again release its previous first quarter and full fiscal year 2008 information at its Investor Day Meeting in New York City.
The company continues to expect diluted earnings per share for fiscal year 2008 to be in the range of $2.77 to $2.95. This represents an increase of approximately 13 percent to 20 percent over the $2.46 earnings per share for fiscal year 2007.
Also unchanged are the key assumptions supporting the company’s diluted earnings per share expectations for fiscal year 2008, which are: operating revenue growth between 5 percent and 7 percent; operating margin expansion in the pharmaceutical distribution segment; and free cash flow in the range of $450 million to $525 million, which includes capital expenditures of approximately $125 million. The company also anticipates spending $400 million to $500 million to repurchase its common shares during fiscal year 2008.
AmerisourceBergen continues to expect diluted earnings per share in the December quarter of fiscal 2008, its fiscal first quarter, to be similar to the same quarter last fiscal year, which was 62 cents. Operating revenue growth in the December quarter is expected to be below the 5 percent to 7 percent range expected for the entire 2008 fiscal year due to the negative impact from lower sales of anemia pharmaceuticals, the loss of a large specialty customer because of its acquisition by a competitor, and the company’s loss of a large retail customer in January 2007.
GSK inks potential $1.4 billion development deal with OncoMed
LONDON and PHILADELPHIA GlaxoSmithKline and OncoMed Pharmaceuticals have entered into an agreement to discover, develop and market novel antibody therapeutics to target cancer stem cells, which are believed to be key in the metastasis and recurrence of cancer cells.
Under the terms of the deal, OncoMed can earn milestone payments from GSK of up to $1.4 billion, based on the achievement of specified discovery, development, regulatory and commercial milestones. OncoMed will also receive double-digit royalties on all collaboration product sales. In addition, GSK will have an option to invest in a future initial public offering by OncoMed.
Under the partnership, GSK received an option to license four OncoMed product candidates directed at multiple cancer stem cell targets. The alliance with GSK includes OncoMed’s lead antibody product candidate, OMP-21M18, a monoclonal antibody, which is scheduled to enter the clinic in 2008.
“This alliance confirms GSK’s growing status as a world leader in the development of new oncology medicines for use in the treatment, prevention and supportive care of cancer patients and provides us access to an exciting new area of drug discovery. We believe that targeting cancer stem cells has the potential to change the paradigm of how oncology patients are treated and we are very excited to be working with OncoMed to develop novel and innovative medicines in this regard,” said Hugh Cowley, senior vice president and head of the company’s Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery.
Roche nominates its own candidates for Ventana board
BASEL, Switzerland Roche has been trying to acquire Ventana for about six months and Ventana has called Roche’s offers “grossly inadequate,” according to published reports. Now, Roche has made a move to increase its chances of buying the company.
Roche has nominated four candidates for election to Ventana’s board of directors at its next annual general meeting, scheduled for June.
“We have taken this step, as required by Ventana’s bylaws, because we are committed to pursuing the acquisition of Ventana. However, we continue to prefer a negotiated transaction,” said Franz Humer, chairman and chief executive officer of Roche.
“All of our nominees have proven track records in their areas of expertise and if elected, we are confident that they will act in the best interests of Ventana stockholders by exploring all alternatives for maximizing shareholder value.”
Roche’s offer has been a steady $75 per share, a $13 difference below the price at which the shares are currently trading.