MedImmune's 4th-quarter profit, lifted by Synagis sales, grows 24%

January 25, 2002|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

MedImmune Inc. said yesterday that its fourth-quarter earnings grew 24 percent to $98.5 million, largely because of increased sales of its Synagis drug for infants.

The Gaithersburg-based company said per-share earnings were 45 cents on revenue of $292.7 million. That compares with earnings of $79.4 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $238.2 million in the year-ago period.

The company also said Synagis had gained regulatory approval in Japan, where Abbott International handles its distribution.

Total product sales jumped 21 percent to $276 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $227.4 million in the previous fourth quarter. Sales of Synagis hit $250 million, up from $212 million in the corresponding period in 2000.

For the year, MedImmune earned nearly $149 million, or 68 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $618.7 million. That compares with earnings of $111.2 million, or 50 cents a diluted share, on revenue of $540.5 million in 2000.

"2001 was our fourth-straight record year for revenues and earnings," MedImmune Chief Executive Officer David M. Mott said.

The company projected earnings per share would be 65 cents to 70 cents for 2002 on total revenue of $900 million. For the first quarter, MedImmune said it expected earnings to be 27 cents to 29 cents on total revenue of $315 million to $325 million.

The projections assume that MedImmune will successfully launch FluMist, a nasally administered flu vaccine the company acquired when it bought Mountain View, Calif.-based Aviron for $1.5 billion in stock.

Besides Synagis, used to prevent a serious respiratory infection in infants, MedImmune's other significant products include Ethyol, a drug designed to protect chemotherapy patients from certain toxic side effects, and CytoGam, a drug designed to protect against rejection of organ transplants.

The results were announced after the close of trading yesterday. Shares of MedImmune lost 29 cents to close at $44.92 on the Nasdaq stock market.

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