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April 24 (Reuters) - Celgene Corp on Thursday reported a slightly higher-than-expected first-quarter profit on increased sales of its flagship multiple myeloma drug Revlimid and other oncology products.
Excluding special items, Celgene had adjusted earnings of $1.67 per share, topping analysts' average expectations by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net profit fell due to higher research and development costs and increased expenses for launching Abraxane for pancreatic cancer and its new medicines for psoriatic arthritis and multiple myeloma, although the company maintained its full year forecasts as sales also increased.
The U.S. biotechnology company posted a net profit of $280 million, or 66 cents per share, compared with a profit of $385 million, or 89 cents per share, a year earlier.
Celgene said it continues to expect 2014 revenue of $7.5 billion and adjusted earnings of $7.00 to $7.20 per share. The company sees full-year Revlimid sales of $4.9 billion to $5.0 billion and Abraxane sales of $850 million to $900 million.
Total sales for the quarter rose 19 percent to $1.71 billion, just shy of Wall Street estimates of $1.76 billion.
Sales of Revlimid rose 14 percent to $1.14 billion for the quarter, which was about in line with Wall Street estimates.
The company said it has filed for U.S. and European approval to use the medicine as a first line treatment for multiple myeloma, a label expansion that is widely viewed as the next big sales catalyst for the drug.
Sales of Abraxane for breast, lung and pancreatic cancer rose 51 percent to $185 million, falling short of analysts' expectations of about $212 million.
Separately, Celgene added to its pipeline of drugs in development by announcing a global license agreement with privately-held Nogra Pharma Ltd to develop and sell a drug for Crohn's disease and other indications. Celgene said it would begin Phase III trials of the drug by the end of this year. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Zieminski)