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Dendreon shares rise 4Q Provenge sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Dendreon Corp. moved higher Monday after the company said sales of its prostate cancer therapy Provenge continued to grow in the fourth quarter.

Provenge sales totaled $81.6 million, excluding special items. That's an improvement of 5 percent from the third quarter, and up 51 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011. In January Dendreon forecast better-than-expected sales because Provenge is starting to be used more often in community oncology and urology practices.

Dendreon shares rose 16 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $5.83 in afternoon trading.

The Seattle company lost $38.7 million, or 26 cents per share, in the latest quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2011 Dendreon reported net income of $38.1 million, or 26 cents per share. During that period the company sold its royalty in Merck & Co.'s hepatitis C drug Victrelis to CPP Investment Board, which manages funds for the Canada Pension Plan, for $125 million.

Revenue fell to $85.5 million from $202.1 million in the recent quarter.

Analysts expected a bigger loss of 56 cents per share and $82.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Provenge is designed to train a patient's immune system to fight prostate cancer. A round of treatment costs $93,000. Provenge was approved with great fanfare almost three years ago, but sales have not lived up to Dendreon's or Wall Street's expectations. In July Dendreon said it would eliminate 600 jobs, close a manufacturing plant and reorganize some administrative work as part of a plan to cut $150 million in annual spending.

The company said the benefits of those cuts will begin to appear in its results this year and should be fully realized by the third quarter.

Dendreon took a loss of $393.6 million, or $2.65 per share, in 2012. In 2011 Dendreon lost $337.8 million, or $2.31 per share. Revenue fell 5 percent, to $325.5 million. Product sales rose 52 percent to $325.3 million.