MedImmune's 4th-quarter revenue and earnings establish records ; New drug, tax benefit are major factors


MedImmune Inc. reported record revenue and earnings yesterday, the performance helped by sales of its new respiratory drug, Synagis, and a $47.4 million tax benefit.

The Gaithersburg-based biotechnology company said it earned $72.7 million, or $1.34 per share, on revenue of $92.9 million in its fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31. For the corresponding period of 1997, the company reported a profit of $3.3 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $53.6 million.

The results include a one-time gain of $47.4 million due to a tax benefit and a one-time charge of $12.5 million due to anticipated returns of MedImmune's RespiGam, which was made obsolete by Synagis. Excluding these two items, earnings for the fourth quarter were $37.7 million, or 59 cents per share.

Synagis is marketed as a preventive treatment for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in high-risk children, such as those born prematurely.

MedImmune said that for the quarter, Synagis generated sales of $92.8 million, but that those sales were offset by $12.5 million in expected RespiGam returns.

The company also reported $9.2 million in sales for the quarter for CytoGam, a drug used to prevent a viral infection common after kidney transplantation.

MedImmune has a co-marketing agreement for Synagis with pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories. Under that agreement, MedImmune gets to keep the first $350 million in U.S. sales, according to analysts.

Synagis costs about $4,500 per course of treatment -- about six injections during the RSV season -- and has virtually no strong competition.

For the year, the company said, it had a net profit of $56.2 million, or $1.06 per share, on sales of $200.7 million.

Without the one-time gain and charge, net profit would have been $21.3 million, or 37 cents a share.

Pub Date: 1/28/99

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