Belgium’s UCB has given an update on its performance in the first three months of the year, saying that revenues are down but new products are making inroads into their respective markets.

The company have no specific figures for the first quarter, limiting itself to saying that revenues fell due to “a lower net sales contribution from the US market”. In particular, UCB has suffered from the introduction of generic competition to antiepileptic Keppra (levetiracetam) and lower sales of anti-tussive Tussionex (hydrocodone and chlorpheniramine) due to a weak cough and cold season.

As for its new products, UCB said that the Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) roll-out in the USA for the treatment of Crohn's disease continues with over 6,200 patients being prescribed the product since launch in April 2008. The extended-release of Keppra XR, launched at the end of September last year, continues to gain market share at a rate above the original launch of the drug, the firm added. UCB also noted that the European introduction of Vimpat (lacosamide) is ongoing with more than 5 000 patients on the drug and the launch is “outperforming the two most recent anti-epileptic drug launches”.

The company repeated that it expected recurring earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to exceed 680 million euros, with a net profit of over 130 million euros, excluding capital gains from divestments. However its revenue guidance has come down to 3.1-3.3 billion euros, compared with the 3.3 billion euro forecast made in March.

UCB also noted that by the end of the quarter, it had achieved more than 80% of its original 17% (or 2,000 positions) worldwide work force reduction target set in August last year.