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Lundbeck revenues slump as competition hits Lexapro in US

New products expected to exceed revenue gap left by antidepressant

Danish pharma company Lundbeck posted a 13 per cent decline in second-quarter revenues to 3.56bn kroner ($592m) following the loss of patent protection on its antidepressant Lexapro in the US.

Revenue on Lexapro (escitalopram) sales in the US – where the product is marketed by partner Forest Laboratories – fell 75 per cent to 175m kroner in the face of generic competition. Meanwhile Lundbeck's ex-US sales of its Cipralex brand of escitalopram fell 6 per cent following patent expiry in Spain.

The effects of competition, and launch and restructuring costs drove Lundbeck into a net loss of 85m kroner in the quarter, reversing a 797m kroner profit a year ago and was well shy of analysts' expectations.

The Danish drugmaker said it has taken a charge of 500m kroner in the first half as it reduces the number of people it employs by up to 600, with most of the cuts occurring in Europe.

Lundbeck maintained its full-year revenue forecast of 14.5-15.5bn kroner, down from 16bn kroner in 2011, pointing to 65 per cent growth in its portfolio of newer products which now account for 13 per cent of group sales.

Among these, Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for Huntington's disease grew 32 per cent to reach 277m kroner in the quarter while Lundbeck said antipsychotic drug Sycrest/Saphris (asenapine) is also driving revenue growth, with launches in 18 countries and another 10-15 more expected before year-end.

"Already in 2012, revenue from new products is expected to exceed the lost revenue from Lexapro US," commented Lundbeck's chief executive Ulf Wiinberg.

"We are pleased with the overall results for the first half of the year and the process of renewing our product portfolio," he added.

The process of reducing its reliance on Lexapro/Cipralex is continuing with the filing of antidepressant candidate vortioxetine expected to take place in Europe and North America later this year. Lundbeck also has high hopes for its once-monthly depot formulation of aripiprazole for schizophrenia, along with partner Japan's Otsuka.

8th August 2012


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