After Hours: Dendreon's Shares Crushed Again

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Dendreon (NAS: DNDN) has done it again.

Its third quarter earnings report is all about prostate cancer vaccine Provenge, and once again the company has managed to disappoint investors. Shares are getting pounded in after-market trading, down more than 20%.

The company managed to exceed revenue expectations but whiffed badly on earnings. It also called for "modest" growth in Provenge sales in the near term.

The most concerning thing for investors was the guidance. Dendreon doesn't even have the luxury of living in a "what have you done for me lately" world; it needs to show what it's doing to create value for investors tomorrow. These two excerpts from the conference call from management discussing "modest" fourth-quarter sales expectations stood out as exceptionally problematic:

  • "Looking ahead, we see our November bookings slightly below our October bookings."
  • "I think the almost 30% growth that we saw in the third quarter would probably exceed what we would classify as modest growth."

Dendreon expects sales growth to shrink! Possibly dramatically. Sure, seasonality is a factor (who wants to get treatment during the holidays?), but to blame the continued stumbling of Provenge's product launch on Thanksgiving and Christmas reeks of deflection.

Going it alone is all the rage, but for every Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NAS: VRTX) , where its Hepatitis C drug Incivek is beating the pants off Merck (NYS: MRK) and its established sales force, you have an Acorda Therapeutics (NAS: ACOR) and AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (NAS: AVNR) , where sales of their new drugs have been disappointing.

It's not for a lack of promise, but going it alone may have been a big strategic error for the company and shareholder value.

Add Dendreon to My Watchlist to stay tuned to the Fool's continuing coverage of the company. Check out fool.com tomorrow, when our health-care expert Brian Orelli will offer the post-mortem of tonight's earnings announcement and a look at what lies ahead for Dendreon.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorDavid Williamsonowns shares of Dendreon, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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