Amylin Pharmaceuticals ( AMLN) on Tuesday presented a fourth-quarter loss that was narrower than Wall Street had expected, but it also posted sales that were slightly below analysts' estimates.

The San Diego-based maker of diabetes drugs said it lost $58.4 million, or 45 cents a share, on sales of $163.4 million for the three months ended Dec. 31. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a loss of 52 cents a share and sales of $167.2 million.

Still, the results beat those for the corresponding period in 2005 when Amylin lost $67.2 million, or 61 cents a share, on sales of $63.5 million. The number of shares outstanding grew from 110.3 million in 2005's fourth quarter to 130.2 million in the most recent quarter.

"During 2006, we laid the foundation for a sustainable enterprise," said Ginger L. Graham, the chief executive who's stepping down from daily management. The company said Daniel Bradbury, 45, who has been president and chief operating officer, will succeed Graham as CEO on March 1. Graham will remain on the board of directors.

Bradbury, a board member, was named president in June as well as the designated successor to Graham, 50, who has been CEO since September 2003. Bradbury joined Amylin in 1994. He has been chief operating officer since June 2003.

Amylin makes two diabetes drugs: Symlin, which the company markets itself, and Byetta, for which Eli Lilly ( LLY) is its marketing partner. Byetta accounted for $137 million of fourth-quarter sales, Symlin contributed $13.6 million, and money from collaborations accounted for the rest.

Amylin said total revenue for 2007 will exceed $800 million, vs. $511 million last year. The Thomson First Call prediction is $828 million. Amylin didn't provide an earnings estimate; the Wall Street consensus forecast is a loss of $1.22 a share. Last year, Amylin lost $1.78 a share.

The company issued its financial report after the markets had closed. In regular trading, the stock finished at $39.01, up 50 cents. After hours, the stock lost 66 cents.

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