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Lundbeck puts in another solid quarter, cuts R&D again

World News | August 10, 2011


PharmaTimes

Lundbeck puts in another solid quarter, cuts R&D again

Lundbeck saw its sales rise 9% in the second-quarter, continuing a run of revenue growth on the back of gains for Alzheimer's disease treatment Ebixa and a good showing for antidepressant Lexapro in the US.

Second-quarter operating profit rose 18% to 1.1 billion Danish kroner (about $211 million) on the back of sales up 13% at constant exchange rates to 4.1 billion kroner. The Danish drugmaker now expects to post revenue at the top end of its 15.3-15.8 billion kroner forecast for 2011 as a whole.

Lundbeck's increased profitability of late has come in part on the back of a restructuring of its R&D operations and greater emphasis on outsourcing. That process looks set to continue, with the company saying it plans to reduce its permanent R&D headcount by 125-175, with most of the cuts coming from its Danish headquarters and an R&D facility in New Jersey, USA.

"This is something we very much regret, but it is necessary in order to strengthen our long term growth prospects," commented chief executive Ulf Wiinberg.

Product sales continued with 'solid momentum', according to Lundbeck, with flagship antidepressant Cipralex (escitalopram) climbing 2% to 1.53 billion kroner, while the US version of the product - sold by Forest Laboratories as Lexapro - advanced 13% to 715 million kroner, thanks largely to price rises and increased bulk deliveries.

The Alzheimer's disease drug Ebixa (memantine) climbed 16% to 707 million kroner, while sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson's disease rose 12% to 299 million kroner.

Lundbeck's newer products also made gains. Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's disease posted sales of 209 million kroner, up 42%, while epilepsy drug Sabril (vigabatrin) added 80 million kroner, an increase of 113%.

Providing an R&D update, Lundbeck said that a verdict on the US filing of severe epilepsy drug Onfi (clobazam) remains on track for the fourth quarter of 2011, while good Phase III results  with nalmefene for alcohol dependence should lead to a European filing by year-end.

On the downside, patient recruitment issues continue to hold up Lundbeck's Phase III trials programme for desmoteplase in ischaemic stroke, setting back regulatory filings originally planned for next year by two years.

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