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Valeant Pharmaceuticals posted a $6.5-million profit in the first quarter as the drug developer's revenue more than doubled, largely as a result of last year's merger with Biovail.

Earnings of the Mississauga-based company amounted to 2 cents per share, reversing last year's loss of $3.1-million or 2 cents per share when it had less than half as many shares.

Revenue was $565-million, including $36-million related to an out-license agreement, up from $219.6-million in the 2010 period.

Pro forma organic growth for the combined company, excluding the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, was approximately 7 per cent, Valeant said in a release.

The company updated its previous cash earnings per share guidance to between $2.65 and $2.90 in 2011, up from $2.45 to $2.70.

"Our performance in the first quarter is a strong start to what I believe will be another successful year for Valeant," said chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson.

"Our specialty businesses performed well and our branded generic operations, in particular Central Europe, exceeded our expectations this quarter."

Pearson said the results were "testament to our diversified business model that gives us the ability to pursue acquisition opportunities while continuing to deliver strong operating results."

Valeant is a multinational specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products primarily in the areas of neurology, dermatology and branded generics.