Vaccine boosts Wyeth earnings

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MADISON, N.J. — U.S. pharmaceutical company Wyeth said Thursday third-quarter net income climbed 33 per cent, helped by sales of the anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel and its Prevnar vaccine.

Quarterly profit grew to US$1.16 billion, or 85 cents per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30 from $869.9 million, or 64 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Results include a four-cent per share charge related to a plan aimed at cutting costs and boosting productivity and a five-cent gain related to the reduction of certain deferred tax asset valuation allowances.

Revenue climbed nine per cent to $5.14 billion from $4.72 billion. Excluding the impact of favourable foreign exchange rates, revenue rose seven per cent.

The company said the jump was led by biotechnology drugs Enbrel and Prevnar. Enbrel treats chronic inflammatory diseases while Prevnar is a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease in infants and young children.

"With our outstanding 2006 third quarter, Wyeth is on its way to achieving annual sales of more than $1 billion for six product franchises," chief executive Robert Essner said in a statement. ``This performance, combined with cost management efforts, provided the rationale for raising our 2006 pro forma diluted earnings per share guidance."

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a profit of 81 cents before one-time items on revenue of $5.03 billion.

The company earlier this month raised its 2006 profit forecast to between $3.12 and $3.18. Analysts see 2006 earnings of $3.15 per share.

Its shares rose 61 cents to $53.80 in premarket trading.

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