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Sales Surge at MedImmune

The company's quarterly loss was wider than analysts predicted.



issued a mixed third-quarter report on Thursday, as sales easily beat Wall Street estimates but losses exceeded analysts' predictions.

Investors didn't seem to mind. Shares of the Gaithersburg, Md., drug company closed up 40 cents, or 1.2%, to $33.75 on trading that was nearly double the average daily volume for the last three months. The stock rose as high as $35.65.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, MedImmune lost $60.8 million, or 25 cents a share, excluding charges, on revenue of $153.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting a loss of $51.3 million, or 22 cents a share, on revenue of $107.3 million.

When charges are included, MedImmune lost $64.1 million, or 26 cents a share. For the same period last year, the company lost $65 million, or 26 cents a share. Year-ago sales were $92.7 million.

Results in the third quarter, and the second quarter for that matter, aren't key periods for MedImmune. The company continues to rely mostly on Synagis, which prevents a dangerous lung disease in infants and young children called respiratory syncytial virus.

For the first nine months, Synagis produced sales of $624 million, or 83% of corporate revenue. During the third quarter, worldwide Synagis sales were $101 million, or 66% more than for the same period last year.

The company makes several other products, including the nasal spray flu vaccine FluMist, which had third-quarter sales of $10 million. Last year, MedImmune didn't begin selling FluMist until the fourth quarter.

MedImmune reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance, which was revised last month, of 4 cents to 10 cents a share. The guidance reflects an acquisition-related charge of 20 cents a share.