MedImmune loss grows to 12 cents a share from 4 cents

Aviron deal is blamed

revenue nearly doubles

July 26, 2002|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

MedImmune Inc. said yesterday that its second-quarter loss increased more than threefold to $29.5 million, reflecting its purchase this year of money-losing vaccine developer Aviron.

The loss amounted to 12 cents a share, compared with a loss of 4 cents a share, or $9.2 million, in last year's second quarter.

The Gaithersburg biopharmaceutical company said second-quarter revenue nearly doubled to $63.7 million from $33.4 million, largely because of increases in the sales of its Synagis drug for an infant respiratory virus and Ethyol for cancer-treatment side effects.

The quarter's results included $8.2 million in noncash charges related to MedImmune's acquisition of Mountain View, Calif.-based Aviron, now MedImmune Vaccines.

"We are pleased with the performance of our business during the first half of 2002," MedImmune Chief Executive Officer David M. Mott said in a statement.

The loss equaled analysts' expectations of 12 cents a share, according to a survey of 15 analysts by Thomson Financial/First Call.

MedImmune has been profitable in recent years but generally has lost money in the second quarter, when sales of its top-selling Synagis drug for the seasonal respiratory syncytial virus trail off. Recently, MedImmune has taken steps designed to ensure that it is not so dependent on the success of Synagis, which is gaining sales more slowly than in the past.

The company's $1.7 billion stock purchase of Aviron was one such step. The acquisition gives MedImmune rights to FluMist, an experimental nasal mist vaccine for influenza. The company hopes that the Food and Drug Administration will approve the vaccine this year, but some analysts say there is little chance of that.

"The thing people are really looking for is, `Are we going to see FluMist approved this year?'" Legg Mason Wood Walker analyst Stefan D. Loren said. "There is no new information out there."

Loren recommends that investors hold the stock.

Yesterday, MedImmune said it expects revenue to hit $900 million for the year if FluMist is approved in the fourth quarter and contributes up to $110 million in revenue.

The company expects cash earnings per share - figured before acquisition-related charges - to be 65 cents to 70 cents this year. Including the charges, the company projects a net loss of $4.19 to $4.24 per share for the year.

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