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Alexion's 2Q profit soars as Soliris sales jump

CHESHIRE, Conn. (AP) -- Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s second-quarter earnings more than doubled, as sales of the drugmaker's only product, Soliris, outweighed rising expenses.

The Cheshire, Conn., company's results topped expectations, and it also raised its forecast for 2013 on Thursday.

Soliris is a blood disease and kidney treatment.

Alexion earned $95.9 million, or 48 cents per share, in the three months that ended June 30. That compares with earnings of $36.3 million, or 18 cents per share, in last year's quarter, when the company booked a $21.8 million tax expense tied to an acquisition.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude items like charges associated with paying employees in stock, rose to 73 cents per share from 47 cents per share.

Revenue rose 35 percent to $370.1 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 68 cents per share on $364.8 million in revenue.

Despite the better-than-expected results, shares dropped $3, or 2.7 percent, to $106.76 in premarket trading. The stock has gained 17 percent in 2013.

Soliris was approved in 2007 as a treatment for a very rare, life-threatening condition called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria that causes a breakdown of red blood cells and leads to anemia. It then was approved in 2011 as a treatment for another rare condition, atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, which often leads to kidney failure and death.

Alexion also said operating expenses rose 21 percent to $193 million on higher research and development and selling and general costs.

The drug developer now expects 2013 adjusted earnings to range between $2.97 and $3.02 per share, up from a previous forecast of $2.87 to $2.97 per share. It also raised its revenue forecast to $1.52 billion to $1.53 billion from $1.51 billion to $1.52 billion.

Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $2.96 per share on $1.52 billion in revenue.