Amgen Profit Up on Anermia Drug Sales

Amgen reported on Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit edged higher, on a reversal of declining sales of its anemia drugs that have been hit with safety concerns and new restrictions on their use and insurance reimbursements.

U.S. sales of the anemia drugs beat analyst estimates for the quarter: Aranesp sold $462 million, compared to projected $398 million; and Epogen sold $638 million, compared to $597 million.

The company also said its closely watched experimental osteoporosis drug denosumab met all goals of a key clinical study, comparing it to a widely used treatment.

The world's biggest biotechnology company by sales posted a quarterly net profit of $835 million, or 76 cents per share, compared with a profit of $833 million, or 71 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding items, Amgen earned $1 per share. Analysts on average expected 97 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Amgen shares had lost about a third of their value since the beginning of 2007 as a steady drumbeat of negative news involving its anemia franchise took a heavy toll.