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Higher drug sales help Amgen profits top analysts’ estimates

Amgen Inc. reported second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates on higher drug sales and said 2011 earnings would reach the upper end of its forecast.

Net income fell to $1.17 billion, or $1.25 a share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.25, a year earlier, the Thousand Oaks biotechnology company said Friday. Adjusted for acquisitions and restructuring costs, profit of $1.37 beat the average $1.28 estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Amgen has increased marketing spending to promote denosumab, approved last year as Prolia, for women with osteoporosis, and Xgeva, to reduce fractures in cancer patients. The medicines helped boost revenue in the quarter by 4.1% to $3.96 billion, joined by increased sales of Neulasta, Neupogen and Enbrel, Amgen said. The company declared its first quarterly dividend, of 28 cents per share.

“The business on the top line was very strong,” said Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in New York. “They did spend more than expected, but they were able to beat on the bottom line despite the increased spend because the top line was so good.”

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Amgen shares rose $1.27, or 2.4%, to $54.70.

In April, Amgen said it would start paying its first dividend, and reaffirmed its forecast for 2011 adjusted earnings of $5 to $5.20 a share and revenue of $15.1 billion to $15.5 billion. The company has been buying back stock, helping boost earnings per share, said Gene Mack, an analyst with Mizuho Securities in New York.


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