Healthy Glow for Genentech

The third quarter beats estimates, and guidance is in line.
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Updated from 4:18 p.m.

Genentech

(DNA)

beat third-quarter earnings targets Tuesday, citing strong sales of its Lucentis drug for age-related macular degeneration.

The South San Francisco, Calif., biotech made $568 million, or 53 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30. That's up from the year-ago $359 million, or 33 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $2.38 billion from $1.75 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 51-cent profit on sales of $2.32 billion.

"We are encouraged by strong initial physician acceptance of Lucentis," said CEO Arthur Levinson. "The rapid adoption of the recently available Lucentis product reflects the fact that wet age-related macular degeneration is a key unmet medical need, and we are proud to have brought this new therapy to thousands of patients faced with potential blindness."

Analysts were impressed by Lucentis' strong start but warned of potential pitfalls ahead.

"I expect Lucentis to explode even further in the next couple of quarters in the AMD space," taking away share from

Novartis

(NVS) - Get Report

AMD drug Visudyne and

OSI Pharmaceuticals'

(OSIP)

Macugen, says MDB Capital analyst Rahul Jasuja.

But the the use of Genentech's Avastin as an intraocular injection for the degenerative disease could cannibalize Lucentis sales, the analyst says. On a percentage basis, Avastin could be taking as much as 10% to 15% of sales that should be going to Lucentis, Jasuja says.

"It may affect the bottom line, and I think it's going to be a measurable hit, but not a huge hit," the analyst says.

In the latest quarter, U.S. product sales rose 34% from a year ago to $1.83 billion, with sales of lymphoma treatment Rituxan rising 12% to $509 million and sales of colorectal cancer drug Avastin up 34% to $435 million.

The company said it expects full-year earnings to rise 65%-70% from a year ago, in line with estimates.

Shares fell 30 cents to $85.30.