BioMarin Pharmaceutical ( BMRN) swung to a loss in the first quarter on bad investments made in two start-up biotech ventures that went under during the period.

The Novato, Calif., company said it lost $13.2 million, or 13 cents a share, in the just-ended quarter, compared with a profit of $1.7 million, or 2 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts were expecting a loss of 12 cents a share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Nearly half of the quarter's loss, the company said, resulted from $5.9 million in markdowns on two equity investments: $4.5 million in LaJolla Pharmaceutical and $1.4 million in Summit Corporation. Both firms have announced that they don't have "sufficient resources to fund operations for the next 12 months," BioMarin said in its release.

In addition, the company said that, by the end of 2009, it will write down to zero the remaining $2 million worth of equity in LaJolla and Summit that BioMarin kept on its balance sheet as of the end of the first quarter.

Excluding those writedowns, along with other items, BioMarin said its adjusted income was $9.3 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with adjusted income in the year-ago period of $4.1 million, or 4 cents a share, which also included one-time items.

BioMarin said revenue, meanwhile, increased 23% to $74 million from $60.4 million a year ago, as sales of its enzyme-replacement drug, Naglazyme, surged 42% to $39.4 million.

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