Genzyme General

(GENZ)

reported revenues and earnings that rose sharply from a year ago for its first quarter of 2003, with the biotech reporting solid growth in drug sales.

Revenue was $314 million, an increase of nearly 30% over the year-ago quarter and well above Wall Street projections of $297.8 million. Net income was $61.8 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with $30.7 million or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

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Excluding charges, income was 31 cents a share, in line with analysts' expectations, as gathered by Thomson Financial/First Call. The company reaffirmed guidance for 2003 EPS of $1.25 to $1.35.

Sales of the company's dialysis drug Renagel were $58.8 million, in line with expectations. That figure includes a $3 million bulk sale at below normal margins. Inventory levels were at four weeks to five weeks -- a positive development.

The company also said it should hear back from the Food and Drug Administration on April 24 -- a day earlier than expected -- about approval for Fabrazyme, a compound for the treatment of a rare genetic disease. The drug is approved in Europe, where sales for the quarter were $11.8 million.