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Forest Laboratories 2Q Profit Doubles On Fewer Charges, Costs

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Forest Laboratories Inc.'s (FRX) second-quarter earnings more than doubled on fewer charges and lower expenses. Like many drug makers, Forest Labs has sought to partner with drug developers to bolster its pipeline. Patent protection for its main money maker, the depression treatment Lexapro, expires in March 2012. The company acquired Clinical Data Inc. in April for $1.2 billion in a bet that the antidepressant Viibryd can help offset the looming loss of patent protection for Lexapro and its No. 2 drug, Namenda, which treats Alzheimer's and dementia. Sales of Lexapro have slowed in the past year amid competition but rose 3.6% in the quarter to $585.7 million while Namenda sales increased 3.9% to $319.9 million. Forest Labs reported a profit of $258.1 million, or 90 cents a share, up from $117.5 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings rose to $1.04 from 95 cents. The most-recent quarter included a 14-cent charge on a licensing payment to Blue Ash for azimilide, while the year-earlier quarter included charges related to Department of Justice investigations and a licensing payment to TransTech for glucose-lowering agents. Revenue jumped 8% to $1.15 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had most recently forecast earnings of 97 cents on revenue of $1.13 billion. The company's costs and expenses fell 10% to $806.3 million Shares closed Monday at $37.95 and were inactive premarket. The stock has risen 34% over the past year. -By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283; melodie.warner@dowjones.com

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