Amgen Inc. reported a 26 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit, based on higher sales of its Aranesp anemia medicine, but warned of slower revenue growth this year.
For the October-December period, the Thousand Oaks-based biotech giant reported net income of $689 million, compared with $547 million for the like period a year earlier. Revenue rose 24 percent, to $2.91 billion.
Sales of Aranesp climbed 40 percent, to $705 million, as Amgen took market share from Johnson & Johnson's Procrit. But the U.S. government has reduced payments on Aranesp this year and that may hurt revenue growth, the company said.
Amgen projected revenue growth in "the high single-digits to low teens range," compared with an increase of 26 percent to $10.6 billion in 2004. "We think at this stage of the year we ought to be mindful of those reimbursement uncertainties," Chief Executive Kevin Sharer told analysts in New York Thursday morning. "It's as simple as that."
In the fourth quarter, combined sales of anemia drugs Epogen and Aranesp rose 21 percent from a year ago to $1.4 billion. Combined sales of anti-infection drugs Neulasta and Nepogen rose 13 percent from a year ago to $778 million.
Shares of Amgen dipped 1.7 percent to $62.48 in late-morning trading.
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