Celgene Corp has posted a healthy set of sales for the fourth quarter, although net income was hit by a whopping leap in R&D expenses.

Net income came in at $214.4 million, down 19%, but the fall was principally due to a 45% rise in Celgene's R&D costs to $460 million. Adjusted earnings were up 13% to $649 million, while revenues increased 21% to $1.76 billion.

Sales growth was driven by the firm’s multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) drug Revlimid (lenalidomide), which generated $1.14 billion, up 13%. However, turnover of Vidaza (azacitidine), which is approved for the treatment of MDS and acute myeloid leukaemia, fell 22% to $168 million due to generic competition in the USA.

The highlight of the quarter was arguably the performance of the breast cancer drug Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel). Sales leapt 90% to $202 million, helped by increased use in the USA in non-small cell lung and pancreatic cancers.

Celgene's new MM drug Pomalyst/Imnovid (pomalidomide) brought in $121 million, while Thalomid (thalidomide), which is used to treat newly-diagnosed MM as well as erythema nodosum leprosum, an inflammatory complication of leprosy, decreased 16% to $61 million.

The company expects to get more approvals in 2014, chief among them being for Otezla (apremilast) in psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.