MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Shares in pharmaceutical firm Trimeris (NASDAQ: TRMS) skyrocketed nearly 30 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday following a third-quarter earnings report that shattered analysts’ expectations.

Surging sales of its AIDS drug Fuzeon coupled with an increase in its royalty rate from drug partner Roche sent Trimeris profits to $3.4 million, or 16 cents a share. Analysts had expected earnings of 2 cents.

Trimeris shares soared to $9.15, up $2.22 on the news. It had closed Tuesday at $7.93, up 21 cents. The stock’s 52-week low is $7.21; its high is $14.92.

Fuzeon is sold globally by Roche. Sales climbed to $63 million for the quarter. Fuzeon’s royalties increased to 12 percent from 10 percent, the hike triggered by the rise in Fuzeon sales. The royalty jump added $680,000 to Trimeris’ revenues by $680,000, the company said.

Trimeris is profitable through the first nine months of 2006 at $2.7 million. The company has predicted it would be profitable for the first time this year.

“We are very pleased with having achieved record profitability this quarter, which has been driven by significant top-line growth of Fuzeon sales and efficient management of our operating expenses,” said Steven Skolsky, Trimeris’ chief executive officer. “This is a significant milestone for the company, which establishes the foundation for being profitable for the full year 2006, including option expense.”