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Schering-Plough sales double on statins

Schering-Plough's Q3 FY07 earnings double on soaring sales of its statin products Vytorin and Zetia

US-based Schering-Plough's (S-P) Q3 FY07 earnings have doubled on soaring sales of its statin products Vytorin (simvastatin/ ezetimibe) and Zetia (ezetimibe).

Net income rose to reach USD 750m, or EPS of USD 0.45 a share, from USD 309m (EPS of USD 0.19) in Q3 FY06.

Revenue jumped nine per cent to USD 2.8bn as a USD 128m advertising campaign helped increase Vytorin prescriptions. The campaign revealed how the combination of Zetia (ezetimibe) and Merck & Co's Zocor (simvastatin) in Vytorin helped to lower cholesterol.

S-P's global jv income, which includes profits gleaned from its Vytorin and Zetia tie-up with Merck & Co, increased 30 per cent to reach USD 1.3bn. Vytorin gained market share on Lipitor (atorvastatin), racking up Q3 FY07 sales of USD 3.2bn. The reason for the gain is that Zetia, which is one of Vytorin's ingredients, has a different mode of action than Pfizer's and the world's best-selling drug, blocking the absorption of fats by the digestive system.

S-P's Q3 sales of rheumatoid arthritis/ Crohn's disease treatment, Remicade (infliximab), increased 34 per cent to reach USD 426m. The drug is marketed by Johnson & Johnson in the US and by S-P in all other regions. Remicade gained EU approval in June 2007 for paediatric use in Crohn's disease, having received earlier clearance in the US for the same indication.

Organon acquisition
S-P is in the middle of acquiring Akzo Nobel's Organon unit, which is the second-largest EU manufacturer of contraceptive pills, in order to diversify away from cholesterol-lowering drugs.

In March 2007, S-P announced it was going to purchase Akzo Nobel's Organon unit, with the purchase to complete by the end of 2007.

Organon, which employs 13,700 people, manufactures the contraceptive pill Marvelon, the contraceptive implant Implanon and the monthly intravaginal implant Nuvaring. Organon is the third-largest manufacturer of contraceptive medication globally.

EU regulators approved the Organon purchase after S-P said it would divest a number of animal health products for sale there. The company added that the sales of these products would not affect financial results and no human products were involved. The purchase is awaiting antitrust clearance in the US.

S-P says it will pay for Organon with cash, debt and equity. As of 31 December 2006, S-P had cash and marketable securities amounting to USD 5.9bn, according to Bloomberg data.

Shares in S-P fell USD 0.23 to rest at USD 32.71 in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange on 19 October, after rising 38 per cent so far in 2007.

30th September 2008

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