Strong Enbrel Sales Help Immunex Match Estimates

Net income rises 26% and Enbrel sales were up 15% compared with last year.
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Updated from 5:26 p.m. EDT

Biopharmaceutical firm

Immunex

(IMNX)

matched Wall Street estimates for the third quarter, posting earnings of 7 cents per share on strong sales of its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Enbrel.

Net income for the third quarter rose 26% to $39.7 million, or 7 cents per share, compared to $31.5 million, or 6 cents per share, in the third quarter last year.

Enbrel sales in the quarter totaled $198.1 million, up 15% compared to the same period last year. That figure was on the higher end of company guidance and within the range expected by Wall Street analysts.

On the company's conference call, Immunex officials forecast fourth quarter Enbrel sales of between $205 million and $215 million -- enough to meet its previously stated goal of $750 million in 2001 sales of the drug. Immunex has been under pressure all year to overcome a supply crunch for the drug. In August, the company announced several agreements with manufacturing partners to boost Enbrel supplies. Immunex also said it's still on track to get a new company-owned plant in operation during the second half of 2002.

Wednesday, the company reiterated its previous forecast that this new manufacturing capacity will contribute to 2002 Enbrel sales of between $900 million and $1.3 billion. Immunex is hoping to expand use of the drug into other diseases like psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

Total revenue for the quarter reached $253 million, compared to $219 million in the year-ago quarter.

Immunex shares fell $1.84, or almost 8%, to $21.34 in Wednesday trading, before earnings were announced.