UCB has posted a reasonable set of results for 2013, with its trinity of core new drugs softening the continued erosion of revenues for the antiepileptic Keppra.
The Belgian drugmaker's revenues slipped 1% to 3.41 billion euros, while net profit fell 18% to 200 million euros, reflecting higher tax expenses. Keppra (levetiracetam) fell 15% to 712 million euros, though it is still selling well in Japan.
UCB's growth now comes from three core medicines, lead by Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, which was up 27% at 594 million euros. The antiepileptic Vimpat (lacosamide) jumped 23% at 411 million euros and Neupro (rotigotine), a patch for Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome, increased 37% to 182 million euros.
Chief executive Roch Doliveux, who is stepping down next Jaunuary, noted that the momentum from Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro, "supported by continuous high investments in R&D, positions UCB particularly well to enter a new era fueled by our particularly rich late-stage pipeline and productive, innovative discovery research". Most investor interest is focused on romosozumab in osteoporosis in post-menopausal women, with first results from Phase III trials expected in the first half of 2016 and another late-stage compound, epratuzumab for systemic lupus erythematosus.