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* Q1 loss C$0.19/shr vs yr-ago loss C$0.35
* Revenue down 50 pct
May 15 (Reuters) - Canadian drug maker Cardiome Pharma Corp (COM.TO) posted a narrower quarterly loss, helped by lower research and development costs tied to its experimental drugs vernakalant and GED-aPC.
Research and development expenditures declined about 58 percent to C$7.7 million.
Cardiome, which was developing vernakalant for the prevention of recurrence of irregular heart beats, said costs reduced in part due to the completion of a mid-stage trial for the oral drug in 2008.
In April, Cardiome licensed the drug to Merck & Co. (MRK.N).
For the first quarter ended March 31, the company reported a loss of C$12 million ($10.18 million), or 19 Canadian cents per share, compared with a loss of C$22.2 million, or 35 Canadian cents per share, a year-ago.
Revenue fell 50 percent to C$0.2 million.
Analysts on average were expecting the company to post a loss of 20 Canadian cents, before items, on revenue of C$0.3 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
Cardiome shares closed at C$4.91 Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=1.179 Canadian Dollar) (Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)