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Biotech's profit beats estimates

October 23, 2008|times wire services

Biotech drug maker Amgen Inc. said Wednesday that its profit leaped in the third quarter, thanks to a comparison with a prior-year quarter weighed down by acquisition and restructuring charges.

Because of higher sales and favorable exchange rates, the company raised its full-year earnings outlook even as it reported declining U.S. sales for its bestselling medication.

Amgen earned $1.16 billion, or $1.09 a share, compared with $201 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time acquisition and restructuring costs, Amgen said it would have earned $1.23 a share, up 14% from the prior year.

The Thousand Oaks-based company's earnings soared past Wall Street estimates of $1.08 a share, based on polling by Thomson Reuters.

Amgen shares rose $2.70, or 5.3%, to $52.35 in after-hours trading. Before the earnings news, shares fell $2.63 to $49.70.

Amgen also raised its full-year 2008 earnings guidance to between $4.45 and $4.55 a share from $4.25 to $4.45.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect earnings for the year of $4.38 a share.

Revenue climbed 7% to $3.88 billion on higher sales of its biotech treatments, including Neulasta, which prevents infections in chemotherapy patients, and Enbrel, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Revenue from the company's bestselling drug, Aranesp, edged up 3% to $845 million for the quarter. However, excluding favorable accounting and exchange adjustments, sales of the product would have fallen 8%.

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