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Lundbeck revenues fall on Lexapro competition

Reinforces need for successful vortioxetine launch

Lundbeck headquarters

Lundbeck has reported a 9 per cent decline in third-quarter sales as generic competition continued to eat into sales of its Lexapro antidepressant in the US.

Overall, revenues came in at 3.62bn kroner ($616m) - down from 3.98bn kroner a year ago - as Lundbeck's share of sales of Lexapro (escitalopram) by US partner Forest Laboratories plummeted 89 per cent to 54m kroner following the expiry of US patent protection in March.

European sales of escitalopram (sold as Cipralex) held up better but were still down 4 per cent to 1.4bn kroner, impacted by the launch of generics in Spain and pricing pressure in a number of EU markets.

The pressure on escitalopram means that Lundbeck is now relying on its recently-filed antidepressant vortioxetine to put it back on a growth trajectory, particularly as sales of another top product – Alzheimer's treatment Ebixa (memantine) – are also on the slide.

In addition, a 17 per cent price reduction in France was among the factors causing a 6 per cent decline in Ebixa sales to 667m kroner in the quarter.

Ahead of vortioxetine's approval, Lundbeck is taking comfort from the performance of a portfolio of newer products, with collective sales amounting to 611m kroner – twice the contribution made a year ago.

Among these, Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for Huntington's disease grew 64 per cent to 317m kroner, while Onfi (clobazam) for seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut-syndrome added 174m kroner since being launched in the US in January.

Another newer product - schizophrenia and bipolar depression treatment Sycrest/Saphris (asenapine) - added 75m kroner in the first nine months of the year, with uptake "slower than expected" in some markets such as Denmark and Germany, according to Lundbeck.

The gains are encouraging but reinforce how badly needs to launch vortioxetine – which has been tipped as a $1.5bn product at peak – to compensate for the two-thirds of 2012 revenues that are at risk of generic competition.

The company reported operating profit of 846m kroner - down from 1.26bn kroner a year ago - although recent cost-cutting initiatives allowed it to boost net profit 21 per cent to 426m kroner.

8th November 2012

From: Sales

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