ZymoGenetics vows aggressive campaign to spur sales of its only commercial product, which brought revenue of just $1.8 million last quarter.

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ZymoGenetics said Tuesday that quarterly sales for its only commercial product increased by 27 percent but still fell short of expectations, spurring a new strategy to ramp up sales.

“Sales are still low, and our focus is and must be to grow sales as quickly as possible,” said Chief Executive Bruce Carter in a conference call to discuss its quarterly financial results.

The product, Recothrom, is a genetically engineered form of thrombin, a blood factor used to control surgical bleeding. Net sales of the product amounted to $1.8 million in the third quarter, versus $1.4 million in the preceding quarter.

The Seattle company reduced prices at the beginning of October and is undertaking a more aggressive campaign highlighting the risks of Recothrom’s competitor, a similar product derived from bovine blood. Sales are being held down by hospital concerns about prices and limited awareness among doctors about the compound.

ZymoGenetics posted a third quarter net loss of $28.8 million, or 42 cents per share, down from $39 million, or 57 cents per share, in the same period last year.

ZymoGenetics launched Recothrom in January amid great expectations, but the market has been skeptical about the company’s ability to achieve higher sales. Its stock price has suffered accordingly.

Last year ZymoGenetics was the region’s largest independent biotech by market capitalization, and its share price peaked at $15. On Tuesday, shares traded at $3.85, up 3 percent; the company’s market cap now ranks third among local biotechs.

In May, McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Paul Latta cut his 2008 sales outlook to $18 million from $30 million; other analysts more recently reduced that estimate to about $12 million.

On Tuesday, ZymoGenetics issued its first official guidance for Recothrom, predicting 2008 sales of $7 million. In the long term the company expects to lead the market for thrombin, said spokeswoman Susan Specht. Some analysts have estimated that eventually Recothrom sales could reach $300 to $400 million.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com