Salix expects revenue to top $1 billion in 2014

Salix Pharmaceuticals reported late Thursday fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, and the Raleigh company forecasts that revenue will top a billion dollars this year.

Revenue increased 30 percent in the fourth quarter to $257.6 million, which beat the $247.1 million that was the consensus among Wall Street analysts who cover the company, according to Bloomberg. Non-GAAP earnings per share was $1.06 cents, well above the 93 cents forecast by analysts.

For the year, Salix reported revenue of $933.8 million, up 27 percent from 2012. Salix expects revenue this year to be $1.6 billion.

Salix sells drugs to treat gastrointestinal ailments. The company’s revenue growth is being driven by sales of its best-selling drug Xifaxan, which is approved to treat travelers’ diarrhea and a rare liver condition. Company recorded a record number of prescriptions for Xifaxan in December, and revenues for the quarter from the drug were $175.8 million, a 19 percent increase over the same period in 2012.

“We enter 2014 with strong momentum in our core Xifaxan franchise and greater resources to pursue expanded opportunities for all of our currently marketed products,” CEO Carolyn Logan said in a statement.

Salix also announced Thursday morning that it has licensed the worldwide rights to a bowel preparation product from Israel-based RedHill Biopharma.

The deal includes an upfront payment of $7 million and $5 million in subsequent milestone payments to RedHill, plus royalties on net sales.

In addition to licensing RHB-106, which is used to prepare and cleanse the gastrointestinal tract before a colonoscopy and other procedures, Salix also gets the rights to other purgative developments. RHB-106 has not yet been approved for use in this country.

Salix shares closed Thursday at $109.84, up $1.56. The stock is up 22 percent this year.

Staff writer David Bracken