MedImmune more than doubles its first-quarter earnings

45-a-share attributed to demand for Synagis

Biotechnology

April 22, 1999|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

MedImmune Inc. said yesterday that strong sales of its breakthrough treatment to prevent a childhood respiratory disease caused first-quarter net earnings to more than double to $29 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with profit of $13 million, or 21 cents a share, in the first quarter a year earlier.

The Gaithersburg biotechnology company, which develops drugs for infectious diseases and for use in organ transplants, said it booked $116 million in sales in the quarter of Synagis, its drug to prevent a potentially life-threatening lower respiratory tract disease in infants.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared Synagis for sale in June.

Wayne T. Hockmeyer, MedImmune's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company believes that Synagis sales can be expanded next year in the U.S. and European markets. Analysts have projected that Synagis could generate $350 million in annual U.S. sales.

Hockmeyer said the company estimates that 15 percent to 20 percent of the children who are at risk for the disease received Synagis inoculations during the most recent season for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The RSV season runs between October and April.

MedImmune said its next best selling drug, CytoGam, had sales of $9.7 million in the quarter, which ended March 31.

The company reported that total revenue in the first quarter increased 117 percent to $128.7 million from $59.3 million in the first quarter of 1998.

Pub Date: 4/22/99

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