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Celgene raises full-year outlook on strong cancer drug sales

(Reuters) - Biotechnology firm Celgene Corp raised its full-year earnings forecast for the second time in three months after it reported a quarterly profit above analysts' estimates, as its cancer drugs, Revlimid and Abraxane, continued to post strong sales growth.

Celgene shares rose 4 percent to $142 in trading before the bell on Thursday.

The company said it now expects 2013 adjusted earnings of $5.80 to $5.90 per share, up from its prior view of $5.55 to $5.65 per share.

It expects sales of $6.2 billion, up from $6.0 billion forecast earlier.

Second-quarter net income rose to $478.1 million, or $1.11 per share, from $367.4 million, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Celgene earned $1.52 per share.

Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.44 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue rose 17 percent to $1.60 billion, narrowly beating analysts' estimate of $1.54 billion.

Sales of the company's flagship blood cancer drug Revlimid, approved for use in multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma and a blood disorder, rose 13 percent to $1.05 billion, driven by market share gains.

Multiple myeloma is the second-most-commonly diagnosed blood cancer.

Revlimid has been in the news after Celgene said last week that it would stop a late-stage trial of the drug due to a higher number of deaths in leukemia patients taking the drug compared with those on another treatment.

Analysts, however, had said the trial closure would not affect their sales estimates for the drug that brought in sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.

Sales of another big growth engine for Celgene, Abraxane, used to treat breast and lung cancer, rose 41 percent to $155 million, helped by its strong demand in the United States for use in lung cancer.

Celgene's new multiple myeloma treatment, Pomalyst, sold $66 million in its first full quarter of sales. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February and is expected to reach the billion-dollar sales mark by 2016.

Shares of Summit, New Jersey-based Celgene closed at $135.99 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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