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King's Profits Decline

The bottom line still tops estimates.

King Pharmaceuticals


reported third-quarter profits and revenue that fell from last year, but the results still beat Wall Street's estimates.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, King earned 44 cents a share, excluding special items, on revenue of $491.7 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had predicted earnings of 38 cents and revenue of $469.3 million for the Bristol, Tenn., drugmaker.

King earned $90.4 million, or 37 cents a share, after factoring in all items and costs.

Last year, it earned $121.9 million, or 50 cents a share, on revenue of $518 million.

Shares of King were up 50 cents, or 3.2%, to $16.24 Thursday.

King attributed the decline in the latest third-quarter's revenue to increases in wholesale inventory levels during the year-ago quarter that boosted sales.

"We are continuing to focus on business development opportunities in our key therapeutic areas to further improve our development pipeline," said Brian Markison, the president and CEO, in prepared comments. "As our pipeline continues to build momentum, we expect to report results from several key clinical programs next year."

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Until experimental drugs reach the market, King continues to be led by the blood-pressure medication Altace, whose third-quarter sales of $159 million fell below the $174 million from the same period last year.

The muscle-pain drug Skelaxin contributed $106 million, down from $116 million.

King expects sales in the near future to be aided by the early September launch of Glumetza, a once-a-day, blood-sugar control drug that it's co-promoting with



, the developer of the treatment.

Avinza, a once-a-day version of morphine that King is buying from

Ligand Pharmaceuticals

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, should also improve revenue.