January 8, 2008 / 6:03 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 2-Genzyme quarterly revenue slightly beats forecast

(Adds analyst comment, stock price)

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Genzyme Corp GENZ.O said on Tuesday its fourth-quarter revenue rose 21 percent to $1.04 billion, slightly better than Wall Street expectations for the maker of drugs to treat rare genetic illnesses.

Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates, on average, had expected quarterly revenue of $990 million.

The company, which said its full-year 2007 revenue rose 20 percent to $3.8 billion, reported the preliminary data in conjunction with its appearance at JP Morgan’s annual health care conference being held in San Francisco. Full results are expected to be released on Feb. 13.

Genzyme expects its earnings, excluding special items, to grow by a compound average of 20 percent from 2006 to 2011. Revenue is expected to grow over the same period by a compound average of 16 percent to 17 percent per year. Adjusted 2008 earnings are still projected to total $4.00 a share, the company said.

“The guidance implies tight expense controls,” Citigroup analyst Yaron Werber said in a research note. “With the recent run-up, we believe upside potential for the stock is limited.”

Shares of Genzyme, which are up 4 percent so far this year, rose 25 cents to close at $77.35 on Nasdaq on Tuesday.

The company said fourth-quarter sales of Cerezyme, a treatment for Gaucher disease, rose 15 percent to $301 million, and reached $1.1 billion for the year. Sales of Fabrazyme, a treatment for Fabry disease, rose 18 percent to $114 million.

Quarterly sales of Aldurazyme, an enzyme replacement therapy for a progressive inherited disorder called MPS I, rose to $34 million from $26 million in the year-ago period.

Sales of Thyrogen, used as a diagnostic tool and treatment for patients whose thyroid glands have been removed due to cancer, rose 26 percent to $31 million,

Renagel, used to control levels of phosphorus in the bloodstream of patients undergoing dialysis, rose 23 percent in the fourth quarter to $167 million.

The company said its biosurgery franchise is expected to garner annual sales of almost $1 billion by 2011 and its transplant franchise will post nearly $500 million in annual revenue by 2011. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, additional reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Andre Grenon, Gary Hill)

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