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Ariad Pharmaceuticals: Iclusig sales up 25 percent

Dr. Harvey J. Berger. File photo: Barry Chin/Globe Staff.
Dr. Harvey J. Berger. File photo: Barry Chin/Globe Staff.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge biotechnology firm, said Wednesday that first-quarter net product revenues from sales of Iclusig, the company’s leukemia treatment that was briefly taken off the US market last year, were $8 million, up 25 percent from $6.4 million in the same quarter a year ago.

In a Wednesday press release, the company added that first-quarter revenues were $11.8 million, up from $6.5 million for the same period a year ago.

In October, Ariad temporarily stopped marketing Iclusig in the US after the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that the drug carried “the risk of life-threatening blood clots.” A month later, Ariad eliminated 160 jobs, or 40 percent of its US workforce. In December, Ariad received approval to relaunch Iclusig after addressing safety concerns.

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In a statement Wednesday, Harvey J. Berger, MD, Ariad’s chairman and chief executive, said: “As we reintroduce Iclusig into the US market and continue with the European launch this year, our key priorities are to rebuild confidence in Iclusig and to improve the benefit/risk profile of the drug. Early launch data in the US represent approximately 10 weeks of promotion with a revised product label and show strong market support for Iclusig from community and academic physicians and across a wide spectrum of patients with Philadelphia-positive leukemias. We are making solid progress in both the US and European markets, giving us confidence in our full-year outlook for Iclusig.”

For the quarter, Ariad reported a net loss of $49.8 million versus a loss of $64.7 million for the same quarter a year ago.


Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.