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Genzyme Raises Guidance on Better-Than-Expected Numbers

Biotech's renal disease drug is fueling accelerated growth.

Biotech firm Genzyme General (GENZ) said Thursday strong product sales fueled an 18% rise in net income for the second quarter, beating Wall Street estimates. The company also boosted earnings and revenue guidance for the rest of the year.

The company reported second-quarter pro forma net income of $62 million, or 30 cents per share, compared to pro forma net income of $52.5 million, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts were expecting second-quarter earnings of 28 cents per share, according to consensus figures compiled by Thompson Financial/First Call.

Revenue for the second quarter rose 28% to $239 million, compared to the second quarter of 2000.

Shares of Genzyme General were up $2.15, or just under 4%, to $56.40 in early Thursday trading.

"Our strong revenue growth is being led by the accelerating demand for Renagel and supported by solid progress in all of our other product lines," said Henri Termeer, chairman and CEO of Genzyme Corp., in a statement.

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Sales of Renagal, a drug used to treat renal disease, rose four times to $40.4 million, compared to the year-ago quarter. Many analysts were expecting Renagal sales of around $32 million for the quarter.

However, sales of Cerezyme, the company's lead product for the treatment of Gaucher disease, came in at $141.3 million for the second quarter. That's just short of the roughly $143 million expected by Wall Street analysts.

Looking forward, Genzyme General now says total revenue for the year will increase 25% to a range of $940 million to $960 million, up from previous guidance of an 18% to 20% increase.

Much of that growth will come from Renagal. Sales estimates for the drug were raised to $150 million to $160 million for 2001, compared to previous estimates of $130 million to $140 million, the company said. The company also raised revenue targets for its diagnostics business.

Genzyme General left Cerezyme estimates unchanged at $565 million to $575 million for the year.

On the bottom line, the company says 2001 pro forma earnings are projected to reach $1.15 per share to $1.20 per share. Previous company guidance forecast earnings of $1.13 per share to $1.18 per share. Wall Street is expecting earnings of $1.18 per share.