InterMune Inc.'s in-licensing strategy has afforded the company top line growth with the promise of near-term profits. But in-licensing comes with a cost, as building and feeding a sales force is not cheap. Thus ITMN's announcement on Friday that it will in-license U.S. and Canadian marketing rights to Amgen Inc.'s Infergen interferon alfacon-1, which is marketed to treat chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, will increase ITMN's net loss for this year to $50-$55 million from its previously estimated loss of $36 million.

Nevertheless, ITMN is sticking by its February guidance that it will be profitable by the end of 2003.