Cephalon

(CEPH)

reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations, prompting it to reaffirm profit predictions for the full year that are in line with Wall Street estimates.

The Frazer, Pa., drug company earned $26.7 million, or 44 cents a share, on revenue of $280 million, on a GAAP basis. For the same period last year, the company's GAAP profit was $21.7 million, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $215 million.

Excluding amortization expense, Cephalon earned $36.3 million, or 59 cents a share, for the first quarter. The consensus view of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was for a profit of 52 cents a share, on revenue of $289.1 million.

TheStreet Recommends

The company said it "remains on track" to meet its financial goals for the full year, predicting sales in the range of $1.2 billion to $1.25 billion and non-GAAP earnings of $2.80 to $2.95 a share. The Thomson First Call consensus is earnings of $2.90 and revenue of $1.26 billion.

Frank Baldino Jr., chairman and CEO, said he expects total revenue to double by 2008. Cephalon also forecast second-quarter EPS in the range of 55 cents to 60 cents and second-quarter revenue of $280 million to $290 million. Both estimates were below consensus predictions of 65 cents a share and $308 million, which could have contributed to the company's stock decline in after-hours trading, where it was down $1.36, or 3.1%, to $42.90. In regular trading, the stock lost 42 cents.

The company's three major products posted gains during the quarter. Sales of Provigil, for sleep disorders, rose 6% to $100.1 million; Actiq, a cancer pain treatment, gained 45% to $101.9 million; and Gabitril, for epilepsy, added 16% to $26.4 million.

Gabitril's sales growth was affected by a stronger warning label issued earlier this year after the Food and Drug Administration warned doctors about prescribing the drug to patients who don't have epilepsy. The agency says there have been more than 30 instances of nonepilepsy patients having seizures when given the drug. Most of these patients had psychiatric disorders.

The FDA hasn't approved Gabitril for these uses, but federal law allows doctors to make such "off-label" prescriptions as long as the FDA has approved the product for a single use. Cephalon cut its 2005 prediction of Gabitril sales for the year by $30 million to a range of $80 million to $90 million. Sales predictions for Provigil remained at $550 million to $600 million, and sales estimates for Actiq remained at $390 million to $420 million.