Update from 5:01 p.m. EDT

Chiron ( CHIR), the company that's been struggling to get sales of its flu vaccine back up and running, issued third-quarter financial results Tuesday that missed Wall Street's estimates by a wide margin.

Before items, the Emeryville, Calif., biotechnology company reported an adjusted profit of $72.9 million, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $479.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a profit of 45 cents a share on revenue of $508.3 million.

For the same period last year, Chiron earned $52.1 million, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $529.5 million. A comparison between the two periods is difficult because both quarters were filled with one-time items.

Calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles, Chiron's latest third-quarter profit was $51.3 million, or 27 cents a share.

Both the 2004 and 2005 quarters were affected by failures and delays involving flu vaccines. For the prior-year third quarter, Chiron took a $91 million charge for its failure to sell any Fluvirin vaccine in the U.S. The company's Liverpool, England, plant was cited by British health authorities for manufacturing problems. The license was suspended, and all the vaccine was deemed unusable by the Food and Drug Administration. The license was reinstated in March.

In the most recent quarter, Chiron didn't produced any Begrivac flu vaccine for foreign markets because of manufacturing problems at a plant in Germany. For the same period last year, Begrivac contributed $41 million in sales.

Chiron also has been delayed in getting regulatory approval for Fluvirin. The company recently started shipping some vaccine for the U.S. market, but it warned just days ago that it will produce less than the 18 million to 26 million doses that it had previously expected.

Chiron didn't provide any guidance last week on the number of doses it would make, even though it said the reduction would lower its financial forecast. The company wasn't ready to give a specific earnings outlook, either, but its last prediction was a range of $1.20 to $1.45 a share, excluding items.

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