Boosted by growing sales for its lead drug and expected sales for a newly approved one, Salix Pharmaceuticals says it should hit profitability for the third and fourth quarters this year.

In announcing its quarterly financials, Salix (Nasdaq: SLXP) projected enough sales by the end of the year to finish in the black. Salix stock was trading up 39 cents at $19.90 at midday.

“”Product revenue should continue to increase during the third and fourth quarters of 2004,” said Adam Derbyshire, chief financial officer of Salix, in a statement, “Based upon information currently available, we are increasing our guidance for net Colazal sales for 2004 from approximately $75 million to approximately $77 million.

“The initial stocking of Xifaman took place during July,” he added. “We expect total company net product sales for 2004 to be $100 million. Based upon the guidance for total net product sales for 2004, we continue to believe that we will be profitable for the third and fourth quarters at a level that should result in our being able to deliver earnings per share of $0.17, on a fully-diluted, split-adjusted basis, for the entire year ending December 31, 2004.”

Xifaman was approved by the FDA in May.

Both drugs are for gastrointestinal problems.

Sales of Colazal generated $18.9 million in revenues for the second quarter, an increase of 46 percent from a year ago. Revenues hit $38.3 million for the first six months. Overall sales for the quarter were $19.4 million. The company also recognized $3.5 million in deferred revenue.

Overall, Salix reported a loss of $1.9 million, or 8 cents a share. Analysts had projected a loss of 10 cents a share on losses of $10 million.

Prescriptions for Colazal increased 19 percent in the quarter, according to Carolyn Logan, CEO of Salix. She also pointed out that Xifaxan has been “well received.”

“Anecdotal reports from our sales representatives across the country indicate that many physicians have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to prescribe a nonsystemic, gastrointestinal-selective, oral antibiotic like Xifaxan,” she said in a statement. “We anticipate a growing interest in and demand for Xifaxan as our specialty sales force, as well as national level key opinion leaders, embark upon an intensive campaign to introduce physicians to Xifaxan.”