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ATHLONE, Ireland (


) --


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will manufacture a drug for a "top 10" pharmaceutical company at its newly acquired Irish manufacturing plant under an agreement announced Monday.

The contract manufacturing agreement will generate $15 million to $20 million in annual revenue by 2016. Alkermes will make the undisclosed drug at its Athlone, Ireland facility, which the company took over after closing the $1 billion



Elan Drug Technologies

on Friday.

Alkermes CEO Richard Pops now oversees a larger and more diversified company that will still derive the bulk of its revenue in the near term from royalties tied to its drug-delivery technology platforms, but will also ramp up development of its own drugs.

"We're playing by a whole new set of rules. We now have the capital and expertise to develop all the stuff in our pipeline" without necessarily needing partners, said Pops, speaking from a car while driving from Alkermes' new headquarters in Athlone to Dublin.

Alkermes most promising later-stage drug candidates include a once-monthly version of Bristol-Myers Squibb's schizophrenia drug Abilify and a novel treatment for opioid-induced constipation. Alkermes may seek partners to help sell these drugs if ultimately approved but the company no longer needs financial help fund clinical development, Pops says.

For the fiscal year ending March 2012, Alkermes expects revenue to grow at a "single-digit rate" to the range of $460 million to $480 million with adjusted earnings in the range of $70 million to $90 million, Pops said.

Revenue includes royalties tied to the sale of two

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Alkermes is anticipated royalty and manufacturing revenue from the long-acting diabetes drug Bydureon, which was recently approved in Europe. U.S. regulators will issue an approval decision on Bydureon on or before Jan. 28, 2012. Bydureon is sold by

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Investors have taken a liking to Alkermes and its decision to acquire Elan Drug Technologies, with the stock up about 15% since the deal was announced in May. The broader biotech sector is down 10% over the same time period.

Alkermes shares were down 2.5% to $16.15 in Monday trading.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback;

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