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Salix revenues increase 62 percent in first quarter

Salix Pharmaceuticals reported late Monday that revenues increased 62 percent in the first quarter.

The Raleigh company had revenue of $171.1 million for the quarter, up from $105.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011. That beat the $168 million that was the consensus among Wall Street analysts who cover the company. Net income for the quarter was $10 million, or 15 cents per share.

Salix sells drugs to treat gastrointestinal ailments. Revenues from its best-selling drug, Xifaxan, which is approved to treat travelers' diarrhea and a rare liver condition, increased 40 percent in the first quarter to $112.9 million.

The company said in a statement that it plans to increase the size of its sales force from 160 to 195 over the next several months. The sales force focuses on building up relationships with gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons and hepatologists. 

“Our core business is strong and growing,” CEO Carolyn Logan said. “In the near term we believe we can generate $1 billion in revenue in 2013.”

That belief, she said, is based on Salix winning regulatory approval in July to expand the allowed uses for Relistor, a drug that treats constipation in patients taking pain medicines.

It doesn’t include potential revenues from Salix winning approval to market Xifaxan for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. At the FDA's request, Salix has begun a trial to test how patients would respond to repeated use of the treatment.

Salix shares closed Monday up $1.11 at $49.60. The stock is up 4 percent this year.

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