Dendreon Falls as Provenge Sales Miss Analysts’ Estimates

Dendreon Corp., maker of the prostate cancer drug Provenge, fell the most in nine months after the company failed to meet analysts’ revenue estimates.

Dendreon dropped 15 percent to $4.03 at 4 p.m. New York time, its biggest decline since July 31. The stock has fallen 55 percent in the past 12 months.

First-quarter revenue fell 18 percent to $67.6 million, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today. Analysts expected sales of $79.7 million, the average of 19 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Provenge, Dendreon’s only product, began facing competition from Johnson & Johnson’s Zytiga in December.

“I am not satisfied with these results,” John Johnson, Dendreon’s president and chief executive officer, said on a conference call today with analysts and investors.

Second quarter sales will grow to the “mid-70s range,” and the fourth quarter will be Dendreon’s strongest, he said.

Dendreon said its net loss for the first quarter narrowed to $72 million, or 48 cents a share, from $103.9 million, or 70 cents, a year earlier.

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.

The first television commercial for Provenge ran March 7 as part of a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign. Dendreon said it plans to spend $5 million each quarter on the effort.

New Provenge accounts increased 33 percent in the first quarter bringing the total number of accounts that have infused to 835, the company said. Dendreon is focusing on large accounts, which are in community oncology and urology and some academic centers.

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