* Q3 of $1.03 ex items vs expectation of 86 cents
* Raises FY view to $3.35-$3.45 from $3.30-$3.40
* Shares rise 3.7 pct in premarket trading
(Recasts, adds details on results, analyst comment)
NEW YORK, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Drugmaker Forest Laboratories Inc FRX.N posted lower quarterly profit on Tuesday on charges for licensing new medicines, but operating results far exceeded analyst targets on lower-than-expected spending, sending shares up 3.7 percent.
The company, which also raised its fiscal year outlook, posted net income of $188 million, or 62 cents per share for the fiscal third quarter ended in December. That compared with $301.8 million, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.
Results from the latest quarter included a 41-cent-per-share charge from licensing deals for experimental drugs for diabetes and depression.
Excluding items, earnings were $1.03, 17 cents above the average expectation of analysts, according to Reuters Estimates.
“Certainly pleased to see them report a strong operating number,” Jefferies & Co analyst David Windley said, attributing the earnings beat to lower operating expenses.
Selling, general and administrative expenses edged up only 1.5 percent to $290 million, even as Forest launches new medicines.
New York-based Forest won U.S. approval earlier this month for Savella, a treatment of the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia that it and partner Cypress Bioscience CYPB.O expects to be available in pharmacies by March.
Windley said Forest may have postponed costs related to the launch of Savella until the current quarter.
Forest, which faces the loss of patent protection for its top-selling Lexapro anti-depressant in 2012, is seeking to build up its product portfolio.
Revenue was basically flat at $998 million. Lexapro sales fell 3 percent to $585.5 million as it lost share in the anti-depressant market.
Sales of Alzheimer’s disease treatment Namenda rose 10 percent to $240.9 million.
Forest expects fiscal year earnings per share in the range of $3.35 to $3.45 per share, excluding items, up from its prior forecast of $3.30 to $3.40 per share.
Forest shares rose 3.7 percent to $26.72 in premarket trading from its Friday close of $25.76 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Derek Caney, Dave Zimmerman)