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Aegerion raises revenue forecast; shares jump 26 percent

(Reuters) - Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc raised its full-year revenue forecast following strong sales growth for its cholesterol-lowering drug Juxtapid in the second quarter, sending its shares up as much as 26 percent.

The number of patients receiving the therapy rose 185 percent in the quarter from the first quarter, while new patients waiting to receive the drug more than doubled.

Juxtapid was approved in December as an alternative treatment for patients who have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. The company launched the drug in late-January.

Cowen and Co analyst Nicholas Bishop said that at this early stage of the launch, investors will remain focused on the number of patients on the drug and the number of unique new prescriptions written.

"We continue to believe that the (disorder) opportunity is larger than the Street is modeling and that based on Aegerion's revised patient number guidance, (we) estimate that new 2013 revenue guidance could be beatable," Leerink Swann LLC analyst Joseph Schwartz said.

The company said on Tuesday it expects to exceed prior guidance of 250 to 300 patients on therapy by year-end.

The drug brought in sales of $6.5 million in the second quarter, beating analysts' estimates of $4.3 million.

Aegerion, which received a positive opinion for the drug from the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use in May, said it now expects a formal marketing approval in August. A CHMP nod increases the likelihood of an approval in European Union.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Aegerion's shares were up 10 percent at $85.13 in late-morning trading on the Nasdaq. The stock touched a high of $97.46 earlier.

Aegerion raised its current-year revenue forecast to the range of $30-$35 million from $15-$25 million.

The company's net loss widened to $18.9 million, or 66 cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $13.9 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.

The higher loss was due to an increase in selling and administrative expenses to support the commercial launch of Juxtapid.

Analysts on average had expected a loss of 62 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Pallavi Ail in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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