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Dendreon Shares Decline on First-Quarter Net Loss

Dendreon Corp., maker of the prostate cancer drug Provenge, plunged 25 percent after the company said growth this year will be “modest” and its first-quarter loss fell short of estimates.

Dendreon fell to $8.75 at the close of New York trading, its biggest drop Nov. 3. The net loss narrowed to $103.9 million, or 70 cents a share, from $112.8 million or 78 cents, a year earlier, the Seattle-based company said yesterday in a statement. The loss missed the 64 cent average of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We continue to reiterate our guidance of modest quarter-over-quarter growth for the remainder of 2012,” Chief Executive Officer John Johnson said during a conference call with analysts yesterday. “I believe, based on customer feedback, that the long-term future for Provenge is very bright.”

Provenge was approved in April 2010 as the first therapy in the U.S. that trains the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells as if they were a virus. The treatment, which costs $93,000, was cleared for patients with advanced cases of the disease after the company’s three-year effort to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to back the medicine.

Johnson said sequential growth in the second quarter would be in the “low single digit” range.

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