Elan Corp has posted a net loss of $52.2 million for the fourth quarter, down from $57.7 million for the like, year-earlier period, while revenues dipped $9 million to $300.0 million, despite a strong performance from the multiple sclerosis blockbuster Tysabri.

Global turnover of Tysabri (natalizumab) climbed 13% to $333.4 million, while Elan’s share of sales from the drug, which is marketed with Biogen Idec, reached $229.4 million, up 14%. Sales of the antibiotic Azactam (aztreonam), which is off-patent and which Elan has ceased to market, fell to just $400,000 from $23.9 million a year earlier. The severe pain treatment Prialt (ziconotide), which had sales in the like, year-earlier period of $4.7 million, has been divested to Azur Pharma and contributed $100,000 to the figures.

As for the Elan Drug Technologies business, revenues were up 15% to $78.5 million, helped by Acorda Therapeutics' new multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra (fampridine prolonged-release) tablets which contributed $21.9 million.

Chief financial officer Shane Cooke said the Irish company "had met or exceeded all of its financial guidance for 2010", and revenues plus a 9% decrease in operating expenses helped Elan record full-year operating profits before other charges and gains - $166.5 million - for the first time since 2001. However net loss for 2010 increased from $176.2 million to $324.7 million mainly as a result of the settlement agreement reached with the US government regarding marketing of the epilepsy drug Zonegran.

Colm Foley, an analyst at Dublin stockbroker Goodbody, said the figures were "ahead of our expectations", with Tysabri and Ampyra both beating forecasts.