Belgium’s UCB has posted a better-than-expected set of financials for the first half of 2010 with new products showing impressive sales growth.

Core profit, ie recurring earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation climbed 10% to 398 million euros, well ahead of analyst forecasts, while total revenues were up 3% to 1.64 billion euros. Sales of the antiepileptic Keppra (levetiracetam) were down just 1% to 460 million euros, despite generic competition in North America where sales fell 21%. The antihistamine Zyrtec (cetirizine) fell 12% to 150 million euros, while its follow-up Xyzal (levocetirizine) declined 23% to 63 million euros, due to loss of patent protection in Europe.

Sales of the anti-tussive Tussionex (hydrocodone and chlorpheniramine) fell 33% to 45 million euros, after “a market shift to codeine-based products combined with a weak cough and cold season in the USA", while Metadate CD (methylphenidate), for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, had sales of 29 million euros (-30%).

However, UCB’s new products impressed, especially Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. It had sales of 83 million euros, up 240%, while the new antiepileptic Vimpat (lacosamide) brought in 55 million euros, an increase of 135%. Sales of the Neupro (rotigotine) patch for Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome rose 45% to 39 million euros.

Roch Doliveux, UCB’s chief executive, said that with a Keppra approval in Japan, the filing of Xyrem (sodium oxybate) in fibromyalgia in the European Union, three clinical Phase III programmes to start by the end of this year, and an anti–IL 6 project for autoimmune diseases to enter Phase IIb next year, “we are building the foundation for sustainable future growth”.

UCB maintained its 2010 revenue of about 3.0 billion euros and core profit of about 700 million euros.