July 26 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc on Thursday reported a better-than-expected second quarter profit and raised its full-year forecast, as growth of newer drugs like cholesterol fighter Repatha and osteoporosis drug Prolia offset weakness in older products.
The world's largest biotechnology company also announced replacements for its head of research and development and retiring global commercial operations chief.
Amgen posted adjusted earnings of $3.83 per share. Analysts on average expected $3.54 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company increased its 2018 earnings forecast to $13.30 to $14 per share, up from its previous view of $12.80 to $13.70.
Net earnings in the quarter rose 7 percent to $2.3 billion, or $3.48 a share, from $2.15 billion, or $2.91 a share, a year earlier.
Overall revenue for the quarter revenue rose 4 percent to $6.06 billion, with product sales up 2 percent to $5.68 billion.
Sales of rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel fell 11 percent to $1.3 billion, about in line with Wall Street estimates.
Sales of the potent but expensive cholesterol drug Repatha have begun to take off, with sales up 78 percent to $148 million. They have been held back since the drug's 2015 approval by an unwillingness of insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to authorize its use for most patients.
Prolia sales rose 21 percent to $610 million.
Amgen did not report early sales of Aimovig, the new migraine preventer that won U.S. approval in May. Amgen offered all new patients two free months of the medicine.
Amgen announced that longtime research chief Sean Harper is stepping down and will be replaced by David Reese, currently senior vice president of translational sciences and oncology at the company.
Murdo Gordon, who left his role as Bristol-Myers Squibb's chief commercial officer earlier this week, will replace Tony Hooper as executive vice president of global commercial operations in September, the company said.
Reporting By Michael Erman and Deena Beasley; editing by Deena Beasley