Last week, drugmaker InterMune (NASDAQ:ITMN) announced its fourth-quarter earnings numbers and updated investors on the progress of its drug development pipeline.

2006 was a great year for InterMune. Shares jumped almost 75% after the company inked an awesome collaboration deal for its preclinical-stage hepatitis C virus (HCV) compound, ITMN-191. In addition, a Japanese firm reported positive study results for another drug that InterMune is developing.

The most interesting information to come out of the fourth-quarter conference call last week was the updated timeline for ITMN-191. Investors will be treated to the first efficacy results of the drug in HCV-infected patients in the second half of the year, when InterMune and partner Roche complete a phase 1b clinical study.

InterMune's two compounds in development for the rare but very deadly disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) are also progressing nicely. Phase 3 results from Actimmune are expected in January of 2008, and its other IPF program -- which caused shares to jump in December -- will complete phase 3 enrollment by the end of the year.

For small developing pharmaceutical companies, cash is lifeblood of the company. InterMune started this year with $215 million in cash and equivalents. Based on its revenue and expense guidance for the year, InterMune should burn through roughly $100 million this year, giving it approximately two more years of cash at this burn rate.

Whether InterMune's boom this year is positive or not will depend on the results of the ITMN-191 HCV study that comes out later in 2007.

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Fool contributor Brian Lawler owns shares of InterMune. The Fool has a disclosure policy.