Elan Corp has posted a significant loss for the second quarter and lower revenues, hit by a slide in sales at its drug delivery business.

The Irish drugmaker’s net loss came in at $213.1 million, compared with $68.2 million a year ago, though that was due to Elan setting aside $206.3 million to settle an investigation in the USA into how it marketed the epilepsy drug Zonegran (zonisamide) which it divested in 2004 to Eisai. Revenues for the quarter dipped 4% to $268.9 million.

The multiple sclerosis blockbuster Tysabri (natalizumab) again drove growth. Global turnover climbed 17% to $297.5 million, while Elan’s share of sales from the drug, which is marketed with Biogen Idec, reached $207.4 million, up 19%.

The Dublin-headquartered company’s other products are performing less well. The antibiotic Azactam (aztreonam), which is off-patent, sank over 90% to $1.9 million, while another antibiotic Maxipime (cefepime) was also hit by generics and brought in $1.6 million, down nearly 39%. The severe pain treatment Prialt (ziconotide), which is being divested to Azur Pharma, fell 65% to $1.6 million.

Most concerning was the decline in sales at the Elan Drug Technologies business, down 29% to $56.0 million, due to weaker manufacturing revenues and royalties from the likes of Abbott Laboratories’ cholesterol drug TriCor (fenofibrate) and King Pharmaceuticals’ muscle relaxant Skelaxin (metaxalone); the latter’s revenues were down from $10.3 million to just $400,000.

Ian Hunter, an analyst at Dublin stockbroker Goodbody, said the figures were slightly behind expectations and operating costs were higher than forecast. Elan has said it is exploring the possibility of a separation of EDT and Mr Hunter believes its disappointing performance could lead to a reduction in the value of the division.