Shares in Shire ended the day up 3.7% after the UK drugmaker posted second-quarter financials that beat analyst expectations and lifted its earnings guidance for the full year on higher anticipated sales of Vyvanse, the follow-up to its attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall XR.

Net loss was $79.0 million compared to a loss of $1.81 billion for the like, year-earlier period which included a $1.9 billion write-off of in-process R&D acquired as part of its acquisition of New River Pharmaceuticals. For the latest quarter, the figures include payments to Zymenex for the acquisition of Metazym (arylsulfatase-A) for metachromatic leukodystrophy.

They also include exit costs of $150.3 million associated with Dynepo (epoetin delta), which Shire has decided to stop commercialising. The firm is no longer going to market the drug, which is indicated for the treatment of anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease, because it says that “changes in the external environment including the launch of several bio-similars at lower prices have proved challenging for Dynepo…making it an uneconomic product". All patients will be transferred off the drug over the second half of 2008.

Revenues for the second quarter increased 35% to $775.6 million, well ahead of analyst estimates, driven again by Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine salts). Sales of the drug rose 16% to $296.4 million, helped by price increases, while Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate), launched in July last year, contributed $65.2 million to the coffers, up 20% on the first quarter.

Shire reiterated its earlier sales forecast for Vyvanse to be at the lower end of $350-$400 million and chief executive Angus Russell said the drug’s performance will be “supplemented by the recent launch of the adult indication, the additional dosage strengths and the back-to-school season”. The success of Vyvanse is key to the firm’s future as Adderall XR could face generic competition from April 2009.

As for Shire’s ADHD patch product Daytrana (methylphenidate), sales were up 14% to $22.6 million, though they fell 11% in the USA. Elaprase (idursulfase) for Hunter syndrome reached $80.8 million, up 89%, while turnover from Fosrenol (lanthanum carbonate) for high blood phosphate levels was up 73% to $42.4 million.

Replagal (agalsidase alfa), for the treatment of Fabry disease, contributed $44.7 million to the coffers, up 40%, while the ulcerative colitis therapy Pentasa (mesalamine) was up 11% to $44.8 million. The firm’s newer ulcerative colitis drug Lialda/Mezavant brought in $32.0 million.

Commenting on the quarter, Mr Russell notes that the proposed 328 million euro acquisition of Germany’s Jerini, which should close shortly, is “an excellent match” and the recent European approval of the latter’s Firazyr (icatibant), for acute attacks of hereditary angioedema, “reinforces our confidence in this product”. In addition to Firazyr, Shire has acquired seven treatments since the start of 2007, he said, “which supports delivery of our long-term strategy”.

Mr Russell concluded by saying that Shire “is in line to deliver another set of excellent results for 2008” and is upgrading its full-year guidance for total revenue growth from the mid to high teens to at least 20%.