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Dendreon posts bigger 4Q loss, Provenge sales grow

Tue, 03/01/2011 - 11:45am
The Associated Press

Dendreon Corp. said Tuesday that sales of its prostate cancer therapy Provenge rose to $25 million in the fourth quarter, but the company reported a larger quarterly loss as it ramped up its manufacturing capacity.

Dendreon reported a loss of $91.8 million, or 64 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. A year ago, the company lost $32.5 million, or 28 cents per share. Revenue climbed to $25 million. Provenge, which was approved in April 2010, is the company's only marketed product. Dendreon had $21,000 in revenue a year ago.

Analysts expected a smaller loss of 49 cents per share and $24.7 million in revenue, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.

Operating expenses rose to $98 million from $36.4 million in 2009's fourth quarter.

Provenge is a therapy designed to train the immune system to fight cancer. Sales totaled $20.2 million in the third quarter, which was the first full quarter the drug was on the market. Dendreon has asked for approval of additional manufacturing capacity in its facility in New Jersey, and has applied for licenses for a facility in Los Angeles. It also plans to ask European Union regulators to approve marketing of Provenge in late 2011 or early 2012.

Provenge costs $93,000 per dose and extends the life of patients by an average of four months. Because of the therapy's high cost, Medicare has undertaken a review to decide if it will cover the costs of Provenge treatment.

In November, a panel of experts said it has "intermediate" confidence in the benefits of Provenge, which was essentially a recommendation that Medicare pay for the therapy. A final decision is expected later this month. The decision is particularly important because most potential Provenge patients are seniors, many of whom get their health coverage through Medicare.

Dendreon said it lost $439.5 million, or $3.18 per share in full-year 2010. In 2009 the company reported a loss of $220.2 million, or $2.04 per share. Its revenue increased to $48.1 million from $101,000.

The price of Dendreon shares rose almost 33 percent in 2010, and because of the increased price, it took a charge of $142.6 million, or $2.04 per share, for changes in the fair value of its warrants. It took a similar charge of $118.8 million, or $1.10 per share, in 2009.

Shares of Dendreon fell 40 cents to $33.19 Tuesday. The stock was unchanged in aftermarket trading.

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