InterMune says 4Q lung disease drug sales improved

BRISBANE, Calif. (AP) -- InterMune Inc. said Thursday that sales of its lung disease drug Esbriet rose to more than $8 million in the fourth quarter, and the company said it expects sales to grow to as much as $70 million in 2013.

InterMune said sales of the drug improved even though Germany lowered the price of the drug in September. It reported $7.5 million in sales of Esbriet during the third quarter of 2012 and $2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The company expects sales of Esbriet to reach $40 million to $70 million in 2013, up from $26 million in 2012. The drug is designed to treat a terminal lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, which causes inflammation and scarring of the lung.

Esbriet is now on the market in nine European countries. InterMune launched the drug in Canada on Wednesday and it plans to make Esbriet available in six other European countries during 2013. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved Esbriet, but InterMune said Thursday that it has finished enrolling patients in a late-stage U.S. trial. It expects to report results from that trial during the second quarter of 2014.

Shares of InterMune rose 51 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $10.46 on Thursday. The stock fell 59 cents, 5.6 percent, to $9.87 in aftermarket trading.