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Alkermes posts 4Q profit as royalty payments rise

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alkermes PLC said Thursday that it was profitable in its fiscal fourth quarter as it received bigger royalty payments and more revenue for drug manufacturing.

The Irish company said revenue from manufacturing and royalty payments climbed 33 percent during the quarter, and its total revenue rose 25 percent. Its biggest sources of revenue are manufacturing and royalty payments on the antipsychotics drugs Risperdal Consta and Invega Sustenna, which are sold by Johnson & Johnson.

Alkermes said it earned $3 million, or 2 cents per share, over the three months ended March 31. A year earlier it lost $63.4 million, or 49 cents per share. The company said its earnings totaled 40 cents per share if special items are excluded.

Revenue rose to $163.4 million from $130.5 million.

Analysts expected Alkermes to report earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $127.3 million, according to FactSet.

Alkermes also gets payments for Ampyra, a multiple sclerosis drug sold by Acorda Therapeutics Inc. and Biogen Idec Inc., Bydureon, a diabetes treatment sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., the cholesterol drug Tricor, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment Ritalin LA, and blood pressure and chest pain drug Verelan.

The company also sells the addiction treatment Vivitrol, and said revenue from that drug grew to $14.6 million from $11 million.

Alkermes said it earned $25 million, or 18 cents per share, in its latest fiscal year after losing $113.7 million, or 99 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 48 percent, to $575.5 million from $390 million. The company's revenue grew after Alkermes acquired Elan Corp. PLC's drug technology business in September 2011.

The company also said Thursday that it is switching from a fiscal year ending in March to a calendar year ending Dec. 31. Over the next nine months Alkermes said it expects to be breakeven and could earn as much as $25 million, or as much as 19 cents per share. It said its adjusted net income will be between 61 to 75 cents per share.

Alkermes forecasts $395 million to $425 million over the nine month period ending Dec. 31. Analysts expect the company to report about $412 million in revenue over that period.

Citi Investment Research analyst Jonathan Eckard kept a "Buy" rating on Alkermes shares, citing upcoming data and potential development partnerships for the company's experimental drugs.

The company is scheduled to report additional clinical trial data for its depression treatment ALKS 5461 at the end of May. Eckard said Alkermes is delaying data from a trial of a schizophrenia treatment called ALKS 9070 into early 2014 because the enrollment of patients in the study has been slower than expected, but he said that doesn't affect the company's plans for the eventual launch of the drug.

Shares of Alkermes rose 28 cents to $32.03 in midday trading Thursday. They have traded in a range of $14.82 to $33.04 over the past year.