Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Genentech rakes in first-quarter profit

Article Last Updated: Monday, Apr 11, 2005 - 11:03:14 pm PDT

Genentech rakes in first-quarter profit

By Matthew Bunk

- Genentech Inc. rode the popularity of its cancer medicines to a 61 percent surge in first-quarter profit, the company announced Monday.

The South San Francisco-based biotech company earned $284.2 million, compared with $176.6 million in the same period a year ago.

If not for special expenses, Genentech said it would have shown a profit of $311.6 million. Had that been the case, the company would have beat Wall Street analysts expectations by about four cents per share, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue of $1.46 billion was up 50 percent from a year ago.

The uptick in profits evidently resulted from growth in sales of colon-cancer drug Avastin and newly-launched lung-cancer drug Tarceva. Sales of non-Hodgkins lymphoma drug Rituxin also rose significantly, Genentech reported.

U.S. sales of Avastin were $202.9 million, up from $38.1 million in the first quarter of last year, the period it was launched. World-wide, Avastin sales totaled $214.5 million.

Genentech manufactures drugs in Vacaville, and work began last year to expand its facility there. When complete, it will be one of the largest biopharmaceutical manufacturing plants in the world, employing up to 1,100.

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