Centocor, which received FDA approval of ReoPro last Decemberfor preventing closure of arteries following angioplasty in high riskpatients, said its first quarter sales of the platelet inhibitor tomarketing partner Eli Lilly and Co. totaled nearly $8 million.The Malvern, Pa., company released the sales figures Monday inassociation with Lilly's first quarter earnings report. Lilly, ofIndianapolis, said its net income of $393.2 million, or $1.36 pershare, was up 19 percent for the first three months of 1995 over thefirst quarter of 1994.However, Lilly, which launched sales of ReoPro in February, did notdetail its revenues for the drug. Analysts said it was impossible tospeculate on ReoPro's early market performance based only onCentocor's shipments to Lilly."Overall Lilly is handling the launch appropriately," said MarkSimon, of Robertson Stephens & Co. in San Francisco. He added thattrying to conclude anything on sales or shipments after six weekswould be premature.Centocor, which won't release its first quarter earnings until May,said it shipped $7.9 million worth of ReoPro to Lilly. ReoPro wasCentocor's first drug to reach the U.S. market.Under Centocor's collaboration with Lilly, the two companies willsplit profits equally. When Lilly began marketing ReoPro, thecompany said the average price for a single patient treatment wouldbe about $1,350.Lilly and Centocor have said ReoPro's label makes it available for"nearly 30 percent" of all angioplasty patients, who number about750,000 a year in the U.S. and Europe.ReoPro also has been recommended for approval by the EuropeanUnion's Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products. It is on themarket in Sweden and The Netherlands. Norway and the U.K. alsohave approved ReoPro and it will be available in the second quarterof this year.ReoPro is a monoclonal antibody designed to inhibit plateletaggregation. Patients receive the drug during angioplasty and a 12-hour infusion following the procedure. ReoPro was approved forballoon angioplasty and arthrectomy patients who are at high risk ofexperiencing abrupt closure of the treated coronary vessel.Centocor's stock (NASDAQ:CNTO) closed Monday at $15.25, up25 cents. The company released its figures on the ReoPro sales afterthe market closed. Lilly (NYSE:LLY) closed unchanged at $77.75. n

-- Charles Craig

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