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reported Thursday that it had significantly cut its losses compared to the same period last year while easily beating the earnings consensus of Wall Street analysts.

The Dublin, Ireland-based drug company said it lost $62.2 million, or 16 cents a share, on revenue of $159 million for the three months ended March 31. For the same period last year, the company lost $127.5 million, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $224.7 million. The lower revenue is due to the selling of certain assets as part of a financial restructuring.

The consensus view from Wall Street was a first-quarter loss of 27 cents, according to Thomson First Call. The range of estimates was from a loss of 21 cents to a loss of 34 cents, illustrating how soundly Elan beat analysts' predictions.

Elan also stated that it is "on track" to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration during the second quarter for Antegren, a drug for multiple sclerosis, which has been attracting considerable analyst attention. Elan is developing the drug with the U.S. biotech giant

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Biogen Idec

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. The companies also are planning to seek European Union approval of the drug during the second quarter.

Elan and Biogen Idec are also discussing with U.S. and European regulators about potential applications for Antegren as a treatment for Crohn's Disease. They are scheduled to present results of a Phase 3 clinical trial -- the final tests before applying to the FDA -- on Crohn's Disease at a major digestive diseases conference in New Orleans next week. During the first quarter, the companies also initiated a Phase 2 trial of Antegren for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

And there's more good news from Elan. The company said positive results in January from a clinical trial of another drug, Prialt, for chronic pain, means Elan expects to file this quarter a supplement to a previously filed application with the FDA.

Elan shares rose 59 cents, 2.9%, to $21 Thursday. Biogen Idec shares closed at $58.02 yesterday.