Millennium Sales Top Estimates

The company breaks even on a per-share basis.
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Millennium Pharmaceuticals

(MLNM)

reported better-than-expected revenue in the first quarter, as its results were helped along by a 19% increase in U.S. sales of the cancer drug Velcade.

The company reported overall revenue of $122.5 million in the first three months of the year, compared with analysts' estimates of $116.5 million.

Domestic sales for Velcade, a drug to treat a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, rose to $53.4 million from $44.8 million a year ago. Millennium had success with Velcade in both patients who took it after a previous treatment failed to work and with those who were getting it as their first option.

"Velcade continues to grow even with new competition," said Deborah Dunsire, Millennium's president and chief executive, in a press release. "We expect to see sales increase through the balance of the year with growth coming from increasing the average length of therapy used by patients, as indicated in the label, and from treating more patients with Velcade."

Millennium reported a loss for the first quarter of $20.8 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a loss of $36.4 million and 12 cents a share a year ago. Excluding stock-based compensation, amortization and restructuring charges, Millennium said it would have earned $1 million, or less than a penny a share, in the latest quarter.

On that basis, the results were better than expected. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were calling for a loss of 3 cents.

The company reiterated its full-year guidance for a profit of up to $5 million excluding stock-based compensation costs, amortization expenses and restructuring charges. After factoring in those items, Millennium expects to report a loss of between $95 million and $115 million for the year.

U.S. Velcade sales should be between $225 million and $250 million, the company said. Royalties are expected to be between $115 million and $125 million.

While Millennium expects to achieve full-year profitability on a limited basis, it doesn't expect to be profitable during all quarters, the company said during a conference call Thursday.

Shares of Millennium closed 5 cents lower Wednesday at $9.52.