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Updated to include details on deal for BioVex/



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(AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report

topped Wall Street's profit expectations for a fourth straight quarter on Monday but gave a fiscal 2011 bottom-line outlook that's a bit light.

The company has also agreed to acquire BioVex, a Woburn, Mass.-based cancer vaccine developer. The deal calls for Amgen to pay $425 million in cash for BioVex at closing, but also provides for additional payouts that could push the total consideration up to $1 billion if BioVex meets certain regulatory and financial milestones. Amgen expects the deal to close in the first quarter.

After the closing bell, the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based drug maker reported an adjusted profit of $1.1 billion, or $1.17 a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 on revenue of $3.84 billion. The performance was ahead of the average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

for earnings of $5.13 a share for the December quarter on revenue of $3.81 billion.

"2010 was a strong year with approvals of Prolia and XGEVA," said Kevin Sharer, the company's chairman and CEO, in a press release. "We delivered solid EPS growth while absorbing the impact of health care reform. Our priorities in 2011 are to make Prolia and XGEVA successes, advance and enrich our pipeline, and build value for our shareholders."

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Amgen estimated it took a hit of $198 million in its U.S. product sales in 2010 from the impact of new health care reform legislation in the United States. Prolia is a treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis, while Xgeva is used to treat patients with bone metastases from solid tumors.

For 2011, Amgen forecast adjusted earnings of $5 to $5.20 a share with total revenue projected to range from $15.1 billion to $15.5 billion. The current average analysts' view is for a profit of $5.25 a share on revenue of $15.21 billion.

The stock was last quoted at $57.25, down 4 cents, on volume of roughly 150,000. Based on a regular session close at $57.29, the shares are virtually flat over the past 52 weeks; although they have risen 3.8% since the start of 2011. Since scraping a 52-week low of $50.32 on May 26, the stock has gained 14%.

Wall Street was fairly bullish on Amgen ahead of the report as 20 of the 29 analysts covering the stock rated it as a strong buy (12) or a buy (8). The median 12-month price target of $65 implies upside of 13.5% from current levels.

Amgen's adjusted profit typically excludes the impact of certain items, such as one-time charges related to acquisitions and accounting changes, as well as stock option expense.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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