MedImmune

(MEDI)

reported lower first-quarter profits Thursday, partly due to higher spending tied to a recent acquisition.

The Gaithersburg, Md.-based biotech firm said net income in the first quarter totaled $74 million, or 29 cents per share, compared to net income of $79 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago. First-quarter results match Wall Street estimates and exclude noncash charges related to MedImmune's $1.7 billion purchase of Aviron, completed in January.

Including these charges, MedImmune posted a loss of $1.1 billion, or $4.53 per share, according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Revenue in the first quarter rose 34% to $330 million, compared to $245 million on the year-ago quarter. Sale of Synagis, a drug used to treat a common childhood respiratory infection, totaled $293 million in the first quarter, compared to $221 million in the first quarter of 2001. MedImmune records the bulk of its Synagis sales in the first and fourth quarters, when the incident rate of respiratory infections is the highest.

Looking ahead, MedImmune warned of higher-than-expected red ink in the second quarter, forecasting a loss in the range of 12 cents per share to 13 cents per share. Analysts were expecting a loss of 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

For 2002, the company said earnings should reach a range of 65 cents per share to 70 cents per share, before one-time items, on total revenue of $900 million. That's in line with Wall Street estimates.

But the company cautions that this forecast could change if the Food and Drug Administration fails to approve its FluMist vaccine in time for next winter's flu season. The FDA is expected to render a decision in the third quarter.

MedImmune closed Wednesday at $35.01 per share and was up 34 cents to $35.35 in Thursday preopen trading.