King Pharmaceuticals has surprised Wall Street analysts by posting a 68% rise in second-quarter revenues to $463 million, while net income was almost $21 million or $0.08 per share, compared to a loss of $63 million or $0.26 per share a year earlier. The figures were all the more impressive, given that the company took a charge of $133 million and excluding those special items, net income increased to $107 million from $13 million.

Revenues from branded pharmaceuticals shot up 82% in the quarter to $400 million, driven by a 120% leap in sales of the blood pressure drug Altace (ramipril) to $144 million, and a 71% increase in sales of the muscle relaxant Skelaxin (metaxalone) to $87 million. Turnover from the thyroid medicine Levoxyl (levothyroxine sodium) rose almost 30% to $41 million, a result which impressed analysts given that the drug is now up against generic competition.

The figures tend to suggest that King has emerged relatively unscathed from the spat that saw its proposed merger with Mylan Laboratories [[28/02/05b]] collapse, but analysts are worried about the generic competition Skelaxin is due to face next year, and Altace goes off patent in 2008.

Furthermore, the pipeline looks fairly bare, but King’s chief executive Brian Markison said that the firm will use its strong cash position ($566 million) “to seek external partnerships and continue funding the development of new products that could significantly improve our company’s prospects for long-term growth.”