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Amgen raises 2013 earnings outlook on tax credit

NEW YORK (AP) -- Amgen, the world's largest biotech drugmaker, said Thursday it was raising its full-year earnings estimate to account for a government tax settlement.

The update came amid a broader strategy meeting with analysts where the company said it would narrow its research focus and accelerate expansion into developing markets.

The company makes anemia treatments Aranesp and Epogen, immune disorder treatment Enbrel, and Neulasta and Neupogen for fighting infection in cancer patients.

Amgen said it now expects 2013 earnings per share between $7.05 and $7.35 after accounting for tax settlements with the federal government from prior years. The company previously forecast earnings per share of $6.85 to $7.15.

Analysts expect earnings per share of $7, according to a survey by FactSet.

In terms of its product pipeline, Amgen said it is moving towards a "pick the winners" strategy of using genetic technology to identify promising drug compounds in the earliest stages of development. The company expects data on eight experimental drugs in its late-stage pipeline by 2016, including treatments for cholesterol and osteoporosis.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based company also said it expects to record more than $1 billion in sales by 2015 from new and emerging markets, including Japan and China. Amgen said it is exploring the creation of a Japanese subsidiary that could be up and running by 2020.

It has already said it plans to spend $200 million over the next several years to build a new antibody manufacturing facility in Singapore.

Last month, Amgen posted a 16 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, as higher costs for production, marketing, research and other items offset higher sales for many of its biologic medicines. The results fell a bit short of Wall Street expectations.

Shares of Amgen Inc. fell 47 cents to $86.12 in morning trading Thursday.