Genentech Inc. (DNA) said Wednesday that strong demand for its cancer-fighting drugs fueled a 75 percent profit increase as the biotechnology bellwether shook off doubts its tremendous growth spurt over the last few years was slowing significantly.

The South San Francisco-based company reported it earned $594 million, or 55 cents per share, during the three months ending in December compared to $339.2 million, or 31 cents per share, at the same time in 2005. earnin

Revenue for the period totaled $2.7 billion, a 38 percent increase from the previous year.

If not for accounting expenses unrelated to its ongoing operations, Genentech said it would have earned $659 million, or 61 cents per share. That figure exceeded by a nickel the expectations among analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

For 2006, the company reported earnings of $2.1 billion, a 65 percent increase over 2005.

The company said it expects 25 to 30 percent growth in 2007.