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Auxilium tumbles as drug marketing deal ends

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell Wednesday after the company said it is ending a European partnership with Pfizer Inc. for its drug Xiaflex.

The news came as Auxilium reported its third-quarter results and trimmed its 2012 sales forecasts for the drug. Shares of Auxilium lost $1.53, or 7.6 percent, to $18.51 in afternoon trading.

The companies said the partnership will end by April 24. Pfizer has been handling the development marketing of Xiaflex in 46 countries in the European Union and other European and Asian countries, and Auxilium will regain the full rights to the drug in those countries. Xiaflex is approved as a treatment for a rare condition called Dupuytren's contracture, which causes the tendons of the hand to thicken and shorten, making the fingers curve inward.

New York-based Pfizer markets Xiaflex under a slightly different name, Xiapex. The drug has been on the market in the EU for about 18 months.

Auxilium said it will get $94 million in deferred revenue in the fourth quarter as a result of the end of the partnership. It will be responsible for $9 million in deferred costs. The Malvern, Pa., company raised its annual revenue guidance to reflect the $94 million in deferred revenue, but it lowered its U.S. and non-U.S. sales estimates for the drug.

Auxilium said Wednesday it expects $52 million to $60 million in U.S. sales of Xiaflex this year, down from its previous estimate of $55 million to $65 million. It now expects $101 million to $103 million in non-U.S. revenue including the $94 million payment from Pfizer. That suggests it expects about $7 million to $9 million in sales, compared to its previous forecast of $10 million to $12 million.

Auxilium also trimmed its revenue estimates for its testosterone drug Testim, saying it expects $235 million to $245 million in total sales, down from $245 million to $255 million.

The company said it lost $10.5 million, or 21 cents per share, in the September quarter. In the year-ago period Auxilium took a loss of $4.1 million, or 8 cents per share. Revenue edged up 6 percent, to $71 million from $66.7 million.

Analysts expected a smaller loss of 5 cents per share and $79.1 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Xiaflex sales rose 29 percent compared to a year ago, the company said.

Auxilium is trying to win broader marketing approval for Xiaflex, and the company said Wednesday that it asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve Xiaflex as a treatment for Peyronie's disease, which causes severe curvature of the penis. The company is also conducting additional studies of the drug.