NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of research and development contractor Albany Molecular Research Inc. fell Thursday after the company said its first-quarter profit plunged and it cut its full-year outlook as demand for contract services falls. The company's clients include biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, which have been trimming spending as many revamp drug development goals. The ongoing recession has also made it difficult for smaller companies to gain funding for drug development programs, prompting them to cut spending. Albany Molecular's stock fell 68 cents, or 6.9 percent, to $9.14 in morning trading on the lower profit and a cut outlook. Shares have traded between $7.31 and $19.49 over the last 52 weeks. Late Wednesday, the Albany, N.Y.-based company said it earned $1.9 million, or 6 cents per share, compared with profit of $4.7 million, or 15 cents per share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue was flat at $54 million. The results topped company guidance for profit of up to 2 cents per share. Contract revenue declined 5 percent to $43.2 million, mainly on lower results from discovery and development services. Royalties and milestone payments rose 31 percent to $10.8 million.
The company said a slowdown in research and development spending is cutting into customer demand, and that it could remain depressed for small biotechnology companies and specialty pharmaceutical companies. Looking ahead, the company cut its full-year profit forecast to between 22 cents and 28 cents per share, from prior guidance of 40 cents to 46 cents per share. The company also trimmed its contract revenue outlook to between $37 million and $41 million, from a prior range of $40 million to $42 million. "Our revised financial guidance reflects a slowed spending by our small biotech and specialty pharmaceutical customers, as well as the impact of the delay of several projects previously forecast for our large scale component during the remaining quarters," said Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Thomas D'Ambra, in a statement. He said the company initiated a "cost containment" program to offset the drop in revenue. For the second quarter, the company projected a loss of 1 cent per share to a profit of 2 cents per share.