Full-year 2004 net income rose 24% to $3.1 billion dollars versus the previous year [[23/01/04e]], Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company said yesterday, as sales of the firm’s key anaemia and arthritis drugs continued to bolster sales.

During the twelve-month period, total product sales topped $10 billion – up 27% and helped along somewhat by currency exchange rates, which added $164 million. The anaemia offering, Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa), surged 60% to $2.5 billion, driven by market share gains in both oncology and nephrology, as well as overall market growth, while the white-cell boosting Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) rose 31% to $1.7 billion. However, sales of the originator drug, Neupogen (filgrastim), slipped 7% to $1.2 billion. Strong contributions also came from the arthritis offering, Enbrel (etanercept), were boosted to the tune of 46% to $1.9 billion, driven by an increasing demand and significant growth of biologics in the rheumatology and dermatology markets.

“2004 was another year of strong performance… We are well-positioned to deliver solid growth in 2005,” concluded Kevin Sharer, Amgen’s chairman and chief executive officer. Specifically, the company is forecasting total revenue growth in the high single-digits to low teens range, and earnings per share of between $2.70 and $2.85 – as much as a 19% increase on the $2.40 recorded in 2004.