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Published on 28 January 2008

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Amgen announces rise in Q4 profits

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Biotech conglomerate Amgen has revealed a rise in fourth-quarter profits despite a US regulator warning about the safety of its anaemia drugs.

However, the company’s forecast for this year shows annual revenue could decrease and that earnings may fall short of analysts’ predictions.

Amgen reported a profit of $835m for the last three months of 2007, compared with $833m during the same period a year earlier.

It comes after the firm’s stock market price dropped nearly 35% in 2007 amid concerns from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a class of drugs which includes the company’s Aranesp and Epogen products.

The FDA issued a “black box” warning – its most serious – on erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, include the two drugs, after research suggested high doses increased patients’ risk of tumours and death.

Aranesp sales plunged 25% to $827m in the fourth quarter following a drop in demand in the US, while Epogen sales in the same timeframe fell 3% to $638m.

Kevin Sharer, chairman and CEO of Amgen, said: “2007 was Amgen’s most challenging year.

“Despite the unexpected reduction in revenues of our erythropoietin products, we delivered earnings per share very close to the low end of our original guidance.

“I am also encouraged by our recent denosumab trial results and the potential of our pipeline. 2008 presents challenges and opportunities and while we are optimistic, we are ready for whatever might come our way.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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