Genentech to discontinue Nutropin Depot

Genentech and Alkermes announced on Tuesday that they would discontinue marketing the injectable human growth hormone Nutropin Depot, news sources report. The companies said it was too expensive to manufacture and market.

The drug, a long-acting version of Genentech's Nutropin, was approved in 1999 to treat growth deficiency in children. Nutropin Depot, which was manufactured by Alkermes and sold in the U.S. by Genentech, generated only 5 percent of Genentech's revenues from its line of growth hormone products, which totalled $322 million last year.

The decision forced Alkermes to lower its guidance for its 2005 fiscal year, which began April 1. However, Alkermes said the move would allow it to save $4 million a year in manufacturing costs, and it does not expect to post a higher net loss than its original projection of $55 million to $60 million.

Genentech did not issue new guidance for its fiscal year.

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