Alkermes CEO Pops is taking a run at the big league

Back in 2009, Alkermes CEO Richard Pops offered a simple strategy for his second tour as CEO.

"You'll see more energy around building our proprietary platform and doing business deals," he told Xconomy's Luke Timmerman, "and action around building the company."

On Monday afternoon, Pops took analysts and investors through a run down on how that game plan has played out. With the pending acquisition of Elan Drug Technologies pushing the company to a new level, Pops can now see Alkermes ($ALKS) breaking into the top ranks of biotech, with growing revenue starting at $450 million, a commitment to grow the CNS side of the business and a string of prospective new treatments in the pipeline.

"There's a lot more scale, more room to move" now, Pops tells FierceBiotech. Instead of having one or two big assets in R&D which have to be partnered out in order to survive, Alkermes can be more selective about collaborations. And the company will no longer rely on just one product to deliver the bulk of its revenue.

Both Risperdal Consta and Invega Sustenna will now deliver a combined stream of royalties along with the recently approved MS drug Ampyra, says the CEO. Vivitrol should bring in additional revenue and Bydureon, long delayed at the FDA, appears to be on track to a U.S. approval with new safety data to back it up. With operations in the U.S. as well as Ireland, Alkermes' Bydureon royalties can be shifted to Ireland, which enjoys a 12.5% corporate tax rate. And with 5 products ginning revenue, the developer can commit more money to R&D, growing its pipeline even more.

At the top of its list of prospective products is the anti-psychotic ALKS-9070, a once-monthly version of Abilify which is headed into a pivotal trial later this year. Another program--ALKS-37, a treatment for opioid induced constipation--is being tested in a second mid-stage study.

"9070 could be a very significant drug," says Pops, adding that the company will probably opt to keep the U.S. rights now and look for a partner for the rest of the world. With greater revenue comes more options, and Pops plans to leverage it for everything he can.

- see the Alkermes release
- here's the story from MarketWatch