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Updated from 7:49 a.m.



issued third-quarter financial results that exceeded analysts expectations, as several of its top drugs enjoyed big sales gains.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the Madison, N.J.-based company reported earnings of 84 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $5.14 billion. The consensus of analysts polled by Thomson First Call predicted an EPS of 80 cents and sales of $5.03 billion.

Including items, Wyeth said Thursday that it earned $1.16 billion, or 85 cents a share. For the same period last year, it earned $869.9 million, or 64 cents a share, on revenue of $4.72 billion.

Two weeks ago, Wyeth issued a full-year profit estimate, excluding charges, in the range of $3.12 to $3.18. Analysts are forecasting $3.15.

Wyeth's shares rose 48 cents, or 1%, to $53.62 by late morning.

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The third-quarter results were enhanced by healthy returns from Enbrel and Prevnar. Wyeth has the rights to Enbrel outside the U.S. and Canada.


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covers those two markets. In Wyeth's markets, sales rose 37% from a year ago to $378 million.

The multifaceted Enbrel treats rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and several other inflammatory diseases. Amgen will announce third-quarter results on Oct. 23.

Prevnar, a vaccine for pneumococcal disease in infants and young children, scored a 30% sales gain in the third quarter to $510 million.

The antidepressant Effexor XR and the older Effexor produced sales of $924 million, up 7%. Protonix, for severe heartburn, added 12% in sales to $452 million for the quarter.

Like its Big Pharma brethren, Wyeth continues trying to cut costs. During the third quarter, it recorded $80.2 million in pretax charges, or 4 cents a share after taxes, for "productivity initiatives." For the first nine months, the charges totaled $154.8 million pretax, or 8 cents after tax.

Wyeth started its cost-cutting program last year. Since then, it has taken $345.4 million in pretax charges. This program will continue "for several years," the company said, leading ultimately to pretax charges of $750 million to $1 billion.