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is taking control of the promotion of the drug Synagis, a plan that lifted the company's shares Wednesday.

The company's partner

Abbott Labs

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will continue to promote Synagis through June 30, 2006, when MedImmune will take over all promotional activity. The Gaithersburg, Md.-based MedImmune plans to hire 125 sales representations for its pediatric division.

Synagis is designed to prevent serious lower respiratory tract disease caused by the respiratory syncytial virus in children. It's administered by monthly injection during the winter.

MedImmune shares were up $2.38, or 8.8%, to $29.48. The company said the move will reduce its earnings in 2005 and 2006 by 10 cents to 11 cents a share each year. As a result, the company is forecasting a profit for 2005 of 24 cents to 30 cents and for 2006 of 40 cents to 50 cents, excluding stock-option expensing.

Reclaiming the Synagis promotion means the company should earn about $1.15 a share in 2007, and MedImmune said it's now positioned to reach its previously stated 2009 profit goal of $2 a share.

Under the terms of the amendment with Abbott, MedImmune will continue to make payments to Abbott through 2006, as well as additional payments, including incentives, based on sales during the 2005-06 virus season.