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Elan Posts Wider Loss

Revenue advances 31%.
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said its first-quarter revenue rose 31%, but its year-over-year loss widened as it took a charge and operating expenses increased.

The Ireland-based biotech had total sales of $176 million for the quarter, up from $134.3 million in the same period a year earlier. Elan lost $93 million, or 20 cents a share, in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $33.3 million and 8 cents a share last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were calling for revenue of $174.8 million in the most recent quarter.

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One-time items affected the comparison. In the first quarter of 2006, Elan had a gain of $44.2 million related to the sale of the Prialt European rights, while this year it took an $18.8 million net charge for the early retirement of debt.

"We are very pleased with the strong start to the year reflected in revenue growth of 31% and a reduction of two-thirds in adjusted

earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization losses resulting from the continued improvement in operating margins," said Shane Cooke, Elan's executive vice president and chief financial officer, in a press release Tuesday.

He also said that the improved sales reflect "the solid performance of Tysabri driven by the approximately 12,500 patients who have signed up for therapy, a 30% increase over that reported only two months ago."

The company believes it will record adjusted EBITDA losses of less than $50 million for this year.