MGI Pharma

(MOGN)

forecast lower-than-expected quarterly sales Thursday, citing fewer administrations of chemotherapy for which it makes an antinausea drug.

MGI expects to lose 3 cents to 5 cents a share in the first quarter on sales of $78 million. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting a loss of 4 cents a share on sales of $81.4 million.

The company said sales of its Aloxi injection will total $63 million in the quarter, down from $67 million in the fourth quarter. MGI had previously forecast that Aloxi sales wouldn't rise from the fourth quarter and said the decline "is primarily due to fewer emetogenic chemotherapy administrations and a continued competitive market."

"Although less chemotherapy was administered early in the first quarter, we are encouraged that Aloxi continued to gain share from competing agents," MGI said. "Based on our analysis of historical trends and early evidence from the oncology clinic market segment, we anticipate that chemotherapy administration will return to normal levels for the second through fourth quarters of 2006."

"We continue to believe that Aloxi is a best-in-class product with peak sales potential of $500 million for the CINV indication. We expect sequential growth for the second through fourth quarters of this year to be driven by deployment of our expanded acute care field team into the hospitals, implementation of our direct-to-consumer campaign and continued growth in the clinic segment of the market."