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Sucampo 4Q profit rises on Amitiza Japan payment

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) -- Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday its net income climbed in the fourth quarter as its constipation drug Amitiza went on sale in Japan.

Sucampo said its partner Abbott Laboratories paid it $15 million after it made the first sale of Amitiza in Japan. Net sales of the drug grew 31 percent to $74.5 million during the quarter.

Amitiza is approved as a treatment for chronic constipation that is not caused by other diseases or medications, and Sucampo is trying to gain additional approvals. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the drug as a treatment for constipation caused by opioid pain medications. It is scheduled to make a decision in late April.

Shares of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals rose 2.7 percent to $4.95 Wednesday. The stock added another 30 cents, or 6 percent, to $5.25 in aftermarket trading.

The company said its net income rose to $13.5 million, or 32 cents per share, from $2.7 million, or 6 cents per share. Revenue grew to $34.9 million from $14.2 million. Revenue from research and development grew to $15.2 million from $2.7 million and product royalty payments rose to $14.2 million from $10.8 million. The company also reported $5 million in product sales after having none a year ago.

The company said it is preparing to launch Amitiza in the U.K. and Switzerland.

Sucampo is also starting to sell Rescula, a glaucoma treatment. In December the FDA approved Rescula as a primary treatment for the disease. The FDA approved Rescula in 2000 for use in patients who were not helped by other glaucoma drugs or who couldn't take those medications. Sucampo acquired the U.S. rights to the drug in April 2009 but has not been selling it.

The drug is now approved as a primary treatment for glaucoma and in combination with other drugs intended to reduce pressure inside the eye.

Sucampo said it earned $4.8 million, or 12 cents per share, in 2012. It took a loss of $17.3 million, or 41 cents per share, in 2011. Its revenue grew 49 percent, to $81.5 million from $54.8 million.