Cancer Drug Sales Push Genentech Profits Up 12%

But analysts say Avastin sales slowing
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Apr 11, 2008 8:28 AM CDT
The exterior of Genentech Inc. headquarters in South San Francisco, Calif. Genentech Inc.'s first-quarter profit rose 12%, .   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
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(Newser) – Biotech firm Genentech said sales of its blockbuster cancer drug Avastin fueled a first-quarter profit increase of 12%, reports the Wall Street Journal, but the $600 million in sales was below analysts’ projected $622 million, causing some to grumble the drug may have reached a sales plateau. Genentech stock edged up 0.3% in after-hours trading.

Sales for the drug were up 13% from a year ago, but dropped from last quarter when it sold $603 million. Avastin is used in the treatment of lung and colorectal cancers; in February was approved for use in the treatment of breast cancer as well. Genentech said sales of its other major product, Rituxan, rose 13% from a year ago to $605 million. (Read more corporate earnings stories.)