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UCB raises guidance on strong performance of Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro

Core products lead revenue increase of 2 per cent

UCB headquarters

UCB headquarters

UCB has raised its financial outlook for 2012 after its recently launched products Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro helped first half sales increase by 2 per cent.

The Belgian pharma company now expects total revenues during the year to reach €3.2bn, compared to the previous estimate of €3.1bn.

During the first six months of the year, UCB reported revenues of €1.71bn, with €413m of this figure down to Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for Crohn's disease (CD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Vimpat (lacosamide) for epilepsy and Neupro (rotigotine) for Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome.

Combined, these drugs achieved growth of 45 per cent, and UCB is predicting they will reach even more than the 354,000 patients they have so far been used to treat.

“This performance further confirms our ambition to reach more than 1.5m patients with Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro,” said the company's CEO Roch Doliveux.

"This ... allows UCB to even further invest in our future growth as we have now three phase III projects in clinical development aiming at more breakthrough innovation to people living with severe diseases."

Doliveux has previously spoken of how UCB's focus on severe diseases that require treatment has helped the company cope with European austerity measures, and the strategy seems to be paying off at a time when many larger pharma companies are blaming their decreasing revenues on healthcare cutbacks.

UCB has not escaped the patent cliff, however, and sales declined for anti-epileptic Keppra by 12 per cent. This was felt mainly in North America and Europe, while rest of the world sales actually managed to grow by 70 per cent, due primarily to the launch of the drug in Japan under the name E Keppra as part of a deal with Otsuka.

Elsewhere in UCB's first half results, operating expenses increased by 14 per cent to €956m, on the back of a 9 per cent increase in sales and marketing expenses and a 24 per cent rise in R&D costs.

This was driven by the US launch of Neupro and other regional product launches, as well as the advancement of development projects, according to UCB.

All of these increases had an impact on final income, however, and UCB reported a fall in net profits of 31 per cent to €140m.

2nd August 2012

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