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Wyeth Boosts '06 Profit Forecast

October 06, 2006|From Reuters

Wyeth raised its 2006 profit forecast Thursday and said its recently approved Tygacil antibiotic and three experimental medicines all could post annual sales in the billions of dollars.

The drug maker said it expected full-year earnings of $3.12 to $3.18 a share, excluding special items. The company previously forecast full-year profit of $3.07 a share, although analysts had been expecting $3.14.

The new forecast -- reflecting earnings growth of as much as 16% over 2005 -- was issued ahead of Wyeth's meeting in New York for analysts and investors at which the Madison, N.J.-based drug maker touted its pipeline of experimental medicines.

Wyeth Chief Executive Robert Essner identified two drugs as likely future blockbusters: Pristiq, an altered form of the company's big-selling antidepressant Effexor, and an improved form of its Prevnar vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria.

The company also predicted that two experimental osteoporosis drugs together could eventually garner more than $2 billion in annual sales.

It also expects big things from Tygacil, now sold to treat complicated skin and abdominal infections, if the antibiotic gains approval for a common form of pneumonia.

Some analysts have said Wyeth's shares are undervalued given its promising drug pipeline and strong growth of current products.

"We think once the information [from the meeting] sinks in and people really see the breadth of opportunities that we have and the many paths we have to success, I'm hopeful at least that we'll see the share price improve some too," Essner said.

Wyeth hopes that Pristiq will be approved next year, before the expected arrival in 2010 of cheaper generic forms of the long-acting form of Effexor.

The company also is seeking approval for its experimental kidney cancer drug, Torisel, which it believes could achieve annual sales of $500 million.

Wyeth shares fell 28 cents to $50.90.

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