Barr Pharmaceuticals'


third-quarter earnings nearly doubled from a year ago, as the company's proprietary drug development widened margins.

The results trailed Wall Street estimates, however. Guidance was solid.

The New Jersey drugmaker earned $61.3 million, or 58 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $35.1 million, or 33 cents a share, a year ago. The latest quarter included a charge of 3 cents a share, before which the company's earnings were a penny short of the Thomson First Call consensus.

Revenue fell 18% from a year ago to $265 million, about $7 million below estimates. The higher earnings reflected a greater preponderance of more-profitable proprietary drug sales ($72 million vs. $39 million a year ago) and lower generic sales ($189 million vs. $277 million a year ago.)

Barr said gross margin was 70% in the latest quarter, up 16 percentage points from the year-ago quarter.

For the fourth quarter, Barr put earnings at 73 cents to 77 cents a share. Analysts were forecasting 72 cents a share. The stock wasn't doing appreciable volume Thursday morning after closing the previous session at $51.50, about 8% below its 52-week high.