Baxter International says that it will be taking a $245 million dollar charge to its fourth quarter 2004 earnings, primarily to cover costs associated with the recent suspension of a trial of its influenza vaccine, PreFluCel. Including the charge, the company expects fourth quarter earnings per share to come in at between $0.14 and $0.18.
The company suspended enrollment into a European Phase II/III trial of the vaccine, after witnessing a higher than expected rate of mild fever amongst participants versus other already-marketer vaccines [[10/12/04d]]. It says that the trial will also result in a non-tax impairment charge of approximately $170 million for the write-down of certain assets related to its influenza vaccine program.
A separate $45 million non-cash is expected for the write-down of assets related to the development of its erythropoietin anaemia treatment, and another impairment charge of around $30 million for the write-down of excess recombinant manufacturing assets.