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UCB says new medicines drive growth in 2012

Also optimistic about its late-stage pipeline

UCB sign

Belgian pharma company UCB said revenues rose 7 per cent in 2012 to €3.46bn - ahead of its mid-year expectations - thanks to solid growth from inflammation drug Cimzia and a stable of newer medicines.

Operating profits dipped 5 per cent to €655m, however, largely because of higher R&D expenses as it ushered new drugs through the late-stage pipeline.

"We now expect company growth for many years, driven by UCB core medicines, emerging markets and new breakthrough solutions for patients," said UCB's chief executive Roch Doliveux.

Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease was once again the engine for UCB's revenue growth, with sales up 50 per cent to €467m, thanks in part to approval in Japan last year, while epilepsy treatment Vimpat (lacosamide) also leaped forward, up 53 per cent to €334m.

UCB's Neupro (rotigotine) patch for Parkinson's disease also did well, rising 40 per cent to €133m, although generic erosion continue to affect epilepsy drug Keppra (levetiracetam), which fell 13 per cent to €838m thanks largely to patent expiries in Europe.

"During 2012, UCB reached the 'crossover point' where the net sales of our new core medicines Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro [exceeded] those of Keppra, UCB's leading medicine for many years," noted Doliveux.

Cimzia has plenty of upside with new regulatory filings in active psoriatic arthritis and active axial spondyloarthritis, while Vimpat has not yet reached the market in Asia, where it is currently in phase III testing, and is also in trials to extend its uses to monotherapy and the paediatric setting.

UCB is also optimistic about its late-stage pipeline, which includes romosozumab for post-menopausal osteoporosis and Keppra follow-up brivaracetam, in trials as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial onset seizures in adults.

There was one negative piece of news from the pipeline, however, with the company deciding to drop development of UCB0942, pre-and post-synaptic inhibitor (PPSI) drug candidate for epilepsy, which had reached phase I testing.

UCB said it expects 2013 revenue to grow by low-single-digit per cent to around €3.4bn, with operating profit in the €680m-€710m range.

27th February 2013

From: Sales

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