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Genentech Beats on Bottom Line

Revenue is also better than expected.
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posted earnings and overall revenue that easily got past first-quarter estimates, but sales of some individual drugs were a bit softer than analysts wanted to see.

The biotech company's top line of $2.84 billion in the quarter surged 43% from the same period a year ago and exceeded expectations by around $100 million.

Excluding items, Genentech would have earned 74 cents a share, topping the consensus forecast by 7 cents. Once all items were factored in, earnings were $706 million, or 66 cents a share, up from $421 million and 39 cents a share last year.

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The revenue beat for the first quarter came despite shortfalls for certain big Genentech drugs. Herceptin had sales of $311 million in the quarter, up 7% year over year, but about $50 million shy of expectations. Tarceva's $102 million in revenue was 10% better than the first quarter of 2006, but was roughly $10 million below analysts' targets.

Avastin's sales of $533 million jumped 34% and were generally in line with estimates.

Meanwhile, Lucentis, an eye-disease drug, posted sales of $211 million, missing estimates by around $16 million. The lymphoma drug Rituxan's 12% sales increase to $535 million also left it short of Wall Street's target.

Looking ahead, Genentech repeated its earlier projection that adjusted earnings in 2007 would grow 25% to 30% from last year.

Shares of Genentech edged up 31 cents to $83 in after-hours trading Wednesday.