Cephalon

(CEPH)

reported a loss for the fourth quarter that was narrower than Wall Street's forecast, and the company expects to report a profit for 2001, thanks to strong drug sales projections.

Cephalon reported a loss of 29 cents a share in the fourth quarter, excluding charges. In the year-ago period, Cephalon lost 47 cents a share. The four analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

, on average, expected the company to lose 33 cents a share.

The company, which is based in West Chester, Pa., reported revenue of $41.3 million for the quarter, more than double the top line of $21 million in the year-ago period.

Cephalon expects product sales in the first quarter to total $38 million for Provigil, a narcolepsy treatment; Actiq, a cancer pain reliever; and Gabitril, an antiepileptic drug. The company expects a loss of 30 cents a share for the first quarter, but projected that earnings for the year will be 10 cents a share. The consensus estimate for the first quarter calls for a loss of 15 cents a share, but the forecast for the year is a profit of 15 cents a share.

In recent trading on the

Nasdaq

, Cephalon gained 50 cents, or 0.8%, to $61.75.