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Biovail CEO Bill Wells

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Increased drug sales and royalties at Biovail Corp. boosted its profit and raised second-quarter revenues by 23 per cent to $238.8-million (U.S.).

Several of Biovail's main products had double-digit revenue increases, including its Wellbutrin XL antidepressant, which gained 45 per cent to $53.9-million, the company said Thursday.

Biovail attributed the higher sales of its flagship product to the acquisition of full U.S. rights in May, 2009, partially offset by lower volumes amid the introduction of generic competitors.

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Royalty revenue increased by 88 per cent to $4.8-million, partially offset by a 17 per cent decline in research and development revenues to $2.7-million.

The Toronto-area pharmaceutical company, which reports in U.S. dollars, also had a big increase in profit - although it fell short of analyst estimates.

Profit was nearly $34-million, up 41 per cent from $24.1-million the same time last year. Earnings per share increased to 21 cents from 15 cents.

Analysts had been expecting a profit of 24 cents per share, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Cash earnings, which exclude changes in operating assets and liabilities, were 54 cents per share, down from 59 cents in the second quarter of 2009.

The company, which has been shifting its strategic focus in recent years, is preparing to merge with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. , a California-based company.

Biovail shareholders will own about 50.5 per cent of the combined company, which will have Valeant's name and chief executive but a corporate headquarters in Mississauga.

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Biovail chief executive Bill Wells, who will be non-executive chairman of the new Valeant's board, said he was "pleased" with the second quarter's strong financial performance and "enthusiastic" about the proposed merger.

The merger still requires the approval of shareholders at both companies, but has cleared the necessary approval by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

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