Shire Maintains Sales Guidance

First-quarter revenue is lower than Wall Street had expected.
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British drugmaker

Shire

(SHPGY)

posted weaker-than-expected revenue for the first quarter but still reiterated its top-line forecast for all of 2006.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 44 cents a share for the three months ended March 31, beating the Thomson First Call consensus by 6 cents. First-quarter sales of $411 million were below the $418.5 million estimate.

After factoring in all items, Shire earned $61.1 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with a profit of $15.4 million, or 9 cents a share, for the same period last year. Revenue for the year-ago quarter was $333.7 million.

Shares of Shire rose 88 cents, or 1.9%, to close at $46.55.

Matthew Emmens, the chief executive, said the first-quarter performance was "in line with our expectations." He reaffirmed Shire's sales guidance for the full year, saying revenue would grow in the "low double-digit range." He didn't provide an earnings estimate but added that the company expects to launch five new products by mid-2007.

For now, Shire's growth and guidance remain heavily dependent on Adderall XR, a drug for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. First-quarter sales rose 42% to $206.1 million, accounting for half of the company's overall revenue.

"The U.S. ADHD market is performing as expected, with prescription growth around 5%," Emmens said. By midyear, Shire will be selling

Daytrana, a skin patch that releases ADHD medication. Shire is collaborating with

Noven Pharmaceuticals

(NOVN) - Get Report

on the drug, which is meant for children ages 6 through 12. The Food and Drug Administration approved Daytrana three weeks ago.

A third ADHD drug is under review by the FDA. This one, also for children 6 to 12, is being developed by Shire and

New River Pharmaceuticals

(NRPH)

.

The growth of Adderall XR, a drug prescribed for children, teen-agers and adults, depends largely on patent challenges. Shire previously settled a dispute with

Impax Laboratories

(IPXL)

and continues to negotiate with

Barr Pharmaceuticals

(BRL)

. If they don't settle, they go to trial on Oct. 30.

Shire also has sued

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

(TEVA) - Get Report

, alleging patent infringement.