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Savient Pharma falls on slower gout drug growth

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. sank Tuesday after the company reported slower sales growth for its gout drug Krystexxa.

Savient said sales of Krystexxa totaled $4.7 million during the fourth quarter. That an improvement from last year and earlier quarters, but despite an increase in the price of the drug, revenue growth was slower than in the previous quarters.

The company reported $3 million in sales of Krystexxa during the fourth quarter of 2011. In 2012 sales rose to $3.1 million in the first quarter, $4 million in the second quarter, and $4.5 million in the third quarter. That means sales improved 30 percent from the first quarter to the second and 13 percent from the second quarter to the third.

Krystexxa has been on the market since late 2010, but sales have been disappointing. In July, Savient said it would eliminate 60 jobs, or about 35 percent of its workforce, to reduce its costs. The company increased the price of Krystexxa 29 percent in 2012, and raised it another 30 percent in January, to $3,850 per vial.

Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals lost 11 cents, or 12.2 percent, to 76 cents in afternoon trading.

The Bridgewater, N.J., company said it lost $28 million, or 39 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. A year earlier it took a loss of $30.9 million, or 44 cents per share. Total revenue rose to $4.9 million from $3.7 million.

Savient reported greater costs of goods sold but lower research and development costs and lower sales and promotion costs for Krystexxa.

Analysts expected a loss of 39 cents per share and $5.4 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Savient said it lost $118.3 million, or $1.67 per share, in 2012 after taking a loss of $102 million, or $1.46 per share, in 2011. Revenue increased to $18 million from $9.6 million.

The company will start marketing a rheumatoid arthritis drug called Kineret with Swedish Orphan Biovitrum in April.