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Forest Labs Falls After Quarterly Loss Exceeds Estimates

Forest Laboratories Inc., the drugmaker that lost patent protection on its top-selling product in March, plunged the most in three months after posting a third-quarter loss wider than analysts’ expectations.

Forest fell 1.3 percent to $37.11 at 9:45 a.m. New York time, after declining to $36.20 in the biggest intraday drop since Oct. 16. The loss in the period ended Dec. 31 was 21 cents a share after one-time items were excluded, the New York-based drugmaker said in a statement today. The result compared with an 8-cent loss that was the average of 23 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales declined 42 percent to $678 million, missing the $774 million estimate of analysts. Forest’s revenue has been tumbling after protection ended on the antidepressant Lexapro, once its biggest-seller with more than $2 billion in annual sales. The company is pushing to offset the decline with the sale of newer drugs, including the lung treatment Tudorza and bowel disorder medicine Linzess.

“The bottom-line is that we view these near-term numbers as not overly meaningful as the focus remains on management’s ability to launch Tudorza and Linzess,” Steve Scala, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in Boston, said in a note to clients Jan. 14.

Forest shares gained 22 percent in the 12 months through yesterday.

Forest said it expects full-year profit at the lower end of its forecast of 45 cents to 60 cents a share. Revenue may be $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion, the company said.

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