Dendreon's 2012 loss not as bad as expected

Dendreon's Provenge in action. The prostate cancer vaccine faces competition from Zytiga.--Courtesy of Dendreon

Dendreon ($DNDN) lost plenty of money in the fourth quarter, but it won the expectations game. Analysts were predicting a loss for the period: 55 cents per share, compared with earnings of 26 cents during the same quarter last year. For the year, the loss was expected to hit $2.89 per share.

But instead, Dendreon's loss came in at 26 cents a share. The results included charges of about $36 million, with some of that stemming from a restructuring that has claimed hundreds of jobs. Revenues for the quarter came in at about $85 million, down from $202 million a year ago.

As for the full year, Dendreon's loss wasn't as bad as expected, either. The company lost $393.6 million, or $2.65 per share. Sales for the full year amounted to $325.3 million, up from $213.5 million for 2011.

The spectacular fall illustrates just why Dendreon is restructuring. The company's much-anticipated prostate cancer vaccine came onto the market with huge sales expectations. But while sales mounted initially, the company was plagued by a production ramp-up--and some unexpectedly fierce competition from Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Zytiga pill.

Still, Dendreon contends that Provenge can rebound. It's adding new doctors to its Provenge-providing team, and it's embarking on a nationwide direct-to-consumer ad campaign. Meanwhile, it's has continued the cost-cutting, notably with the recent sale of a New Jersey facility to Novartis ($NVS).

Just hang on, CEO John H. Johnson says. "[W]e will build on our direct to consumer programs with targeted advertising beginning in the second quarter," Johnson said in a statement. "As we work to drive the top line, we continue to reduce our cost of goods sold and streamline our cost position, and expect to begin to see net benefits of these actions as early as the first half of 2013."

- get the Dendreon release (PDF)
- see the Reuters news

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