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Lundbeck looks to new products as Lexapro slumps

Denmark-based pharma company reports flat sales during fourth quarter of 2012

Lundbeck

Lundbeck managed to offset dwindling US sales of its antidepressant former blockbuster Lexapro with gains for new products in the fourth quarter of 2012, reporting sales that were flat at 3.85bn kroner (around $700m).

The impact was felt more acutely on the Danish pharma company's net earnings, which fell 28 per cent to 146m kroner (about $26m), although Lundbeck said it has three new products nearing the market, which will help drive growth in 2013 and beyond.

According to Lundbeck's chief executive Ulf Wiinberg, these products comprise next-generation antidepressant Brintellix (vortioxetine); a once-monthly version of schizophrenia treatment Abilify (aripiprazole); and alcohol dependence treatment Selincro (nalmefene). They should all reach market before the end of the year.

The big news for the company in 2012 was the loss of patent protection in the US for Lexapro (escitalopram), sold under licence by Forest Laboratories, which caused sales to plunge 98 per cent to just 10m kroner in the quarter thanks to generic competition.

Lundbeck's direct sales of the drug outside the US under the Cipralex brand name held up better, however, and were up 5 per cent to 1.5bn kroner (about $270m). Lexapro benefited from sales gains in Japan following its launch there in 2011, adding 62m kroner (about $11m) to the company's coffers in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Alzheimer's disease drug Ebixa (memantine) gained 4 per cent to 677m (about $121m) kroner, while sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson's disease rose 6 per cent to 326m kroner (about $58m).

Lundbeck's portfolio of newer products - including Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for Huntington's disease, epilepsy drugs Sabril (vigabatrin) and Onfi (clobazam), antipsychotic Sycrest (asenapine) and leukaemia therapy Treanda (bendamustine), as well as Lexapro in Japan - collectively grew by 55 per cent in the quarter to 582m kroner (about $104m).

For the full-year they brought in 2.1bn kroner (about $377m) - a rise of 71 per cent - and now account for around a sixth of the company's total turnover.

Beyond Brintellix, once-monthly Abilify and Selincro, Lundbeck also has two projects in phase III develop, namely desmoteplase for ischaemic stroke, which is scheduled for filing in 2014 and Abilify follow-up brexpiprazole.

8th February 2013

From: Sales

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