Ireland’s Elan Corporation was upbeat this morning as it unveiled a narrowing of losses for the full-year 2004, provided an upbeat outlook for the coming year, and reiterated that it is expecting to return to profitability in 2006 [[28/10/04c]].

Net loss for the twelve-month period narrowed from $509 million down to $376 million in what president and chief executive, Kelly Martin, said was an “extraordinary” year for the firm. However, revenues proved somewhat of a disappointment, dropping by 30% to $482 million, versus the same period last year [[18/02/04a]]. Total product revenue for the year was $404 million, versus $587 million in 2003 – a decrease of 31%, which Elan says came mainly as a result of the sale of the muscle relaxant, Skelaxin (metaxolone), and the insomnia treatment, Sonata (zaleplon), to king Pharmaceuticals [[13/06/03b]], the sale of its European business to Medeus [[24/12/03b]], and the sale of the epilepsy drug, Zonegran (zonisamide), to Eisai [[28/04/04g]].

Revenue from retained products increased by 11% during the year to $305 million, driven by good performances from the anti-infectives, Maxipime (cefepime) and Azactam (aztreonam). The firm’s new, highly touted multiple sclerosis offering, Tysabri (natalizumab), brought in $6.4 million in the year, having won US Food and Drug Administration approval in November [[24/11/04a]]. Although the firm expects Tysabri to become the market-leading treatment for all forms of relapsing remitting MS, it says it is too early to give revenue guidance for the product. Shane Cooke, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said: “While it is early days, the initial take-up since launch of Tysabri is exceeding all our expectations.”

The company is forecasting a 15% to 20% increase in revenues for the coming year to between $460 million to $490 million. For the coming year, Elan is hoping to receive a decision from the European regulators for Tysabri in both MS and Crohn’s disease [[29/09/04a]], [[04/06/04c]], and is also looking to file the drug in this latter indication in the all-important US market, although this remains dependent on the results of a Phase III clinical trial. Trial results are also expected from a Phase II study of the drug in rheumatoid arthritis. The company’s pain drug, Prialt (ziconotide), is expected to be launched in the US in the coming months [[04/01/05d]], and the firm is also hoping to win the green light for the product in Europe and launch it in this market too [[19/11/04c]].