Lundbeck has posted its highest-ever revenues for a quarter which show that turnover for the three months ended March 2008 shot up 15% (at constant exchange rates), while earnings exceeded analyst estimates.

Operating profit came in at 947 million kroner, about $173 million, up 2.4%, while revenues reached 3.23 billion kroner. Lexapro (escitalopram), sold in the USA by licensee Forest Laboratories, had sales of 626 million kroner, a fall of 1%, but turnover of Lundbeck's own Cipralex brand of the antidepressant advanced 16% to 1.36 billion kroner.

The Alzheimer's disease drug Ebixa (memantine) climbed 17% to 526 million kroner, while sales of Azilect (rasagiline), for Parkinson’s disease, leapt 78% to 49 million kroner.

R&D costs were up 37% to 717 million kroner, driven by increased investment in the late-stage pipeline. Last month, advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration issued a limited recommendation for Lundbeck’s antipsychotic Serdolect (sertindole), while the Danish drugmaker noted that FDA approval is expected soon for Sabril (vigabatrin) for the treatment of refractory complex partial seizures and the treatment of infantile spasms.

The highlight of the quarter was the acquisition of the USA’s Ovation Pharmaceuticals for up to $900 million. Lundbeck now says that full-year 2009 sales will be in the region of 13.1-13.6 billion kroner and operating profit of 2.8-3.0 billion kroner. The firm’s previous guidance excluding Ovation was for sales of 12-12.5 billion kroner and operating profit of 3.0-3.2 billion kroner.

Lundbeck added that "the newly acquired company is expected to deliver more than 25% top-line growth on a stand-alone basis in 2009". Chief executive Ulf Wiinberg said the deal meant that “we delivered on the strategic intent of establishing ourselves in the biggest pharmaceutical market in the world”.

Investors are impressed with the figures and at 11.08 UK time, the shares had climbed 6.5% to 122.25 kroner.