Biopharm pioneer Kamada experienced a 55% increase in revenues during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year, according to results released Sunday.

The increase was attributable to the rapid sales growth of Glassia, which is among the first proprietary drugs developed in Israel to win approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Glassia, marketed in the United States through Baxter International under a partnership agreement, is an intravenous treatment for emphysema caused by congenital deficiency of the alpha-1 protein. The deficiency causes chronic infection that destroys lung tissue.

Kamada registered $19.6 million in revenues during the first quarter of 2012, up from $12.7 million during the first quarter of 2011. The 2011 figure included a one-off payment from Baxter, estimated at $5 million, as compensation for meeting milestones that were agreed upon by the two companies in the summer of 2010.

As such, the actual increase attributed to sales growth was much higher than 55%.

Shares of Kamada rose 2.5% in tel Avov Stock Exchange trading yesterday, ending a six-day losing streak, to finsih at NIS 27.99

Sales by Kamada's industrial division, consisting mainly of Glassia sales, climbed 70% compared with last year's parallel quarter, to $12.5 million. Revenues for the company's distribution activities rose 38% to $7.1 million due to increased sales of IVIG, an antibody for the prevention of immunodeficiency. Israeli rival

Omrix Biopharmaceuticals was forced to pull its competing product following the increased prevalence of side effects like excessive clotting.

Kamada's gross profits rose 6.6% compared to the same quarter last year, to $5.6 million. This represented 28.8% of turnover, compared with 41.8% in the parallel period of 2011.

The gross margin for Glassia was 39% for the quarter. Kamada CEO David Tsur said that gross margin for the product will approach 50% as production volumes increase.

Operating income totaled $359,000 - a 45% drop compared with last year's first quarter, due to the one-time revenue from Baxter. Profitability in the distribution division dropped because of the variety of products being marketed.

Kamada projects total 2012 sales at $69 million, a 16% increase over 2011. The company completed its patient recruitment for phase I/II clinical trials of AAT-D1 for the treatment of juvenile diabetes.

In 2013 the company will complete trials for its congenital emphysema treatment, applied using an inhaler. It is also exploring potential partnerships for marketing the product in Europe.