ImClone Sinks Despite Profit

Updated from 8:33 a.m. EDT

ImClone Systems ( IMCL) shares fell Wednesday, even though the biotech company posted its second consecutive quarterly profit, thanks to its hot new cancer drug.

The New York-based company reported net income of $24.3 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with a loss of $34.8 million, or 47 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2003.

Revenue quadrupled to $71.5 million from the year-ago period but was down from $109.6 million in the first quarter of 2004. The big difference was license fees and milestone payments, which totaled $18.1 million in the second quarter vs. $11.5 million in the year-ago period and $67.5 million in the first quarter of last year.

The consensus estimate of analysts was for a profit of $17.9 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $69.2 million.

"We expect to remain a profitable entity for the balance of the year, with continued progress in the key aspects of our business, while managing expenses to maximize our long-term prospects," the company said in a statement, without offering any specific forward guidance.

In the release, the company said sales of Erbitux -- its potentially blockbuster colon cancer drug, which was approved by U.S. regulators in February -- were $71.4 million in the period. Erbitux is being co-marketed with Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY).

Erbitux's FDA approval process has a storied past. The company's former co-founder and CEO Samuel Waksal is now serving a prison sentence for trying to dump ImClone shares in 2001, ahead of the announcement of an unfavorable FDA ruling on the drug.

Home fashion diva Martha Stewart, a friend of Waksal and founder of Martha Stewart Living ( MSO), was convicted on obstruction of justice charges relating to the circumstances under which she sold shares of ImClone around the same time. Stewart was recently sentenced to five months in prison and five months of home confinement, pending an appeal.

Shares fell $10.10, or 12.5%, to $70.63 in trading volume almost three times its daily average of some 3.6 million shares.

As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see Corrections and Clarifications.

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