Lundbeck has posted an 8% decrease in revenues for the first quarter and earnings slumped as a result of generic competition to its flagship antidepressant Cipralex/Lexapro.

Sales came in at 3.78 billion kroner (about $671.5 million), while operating profit fell 32.4% to 882 million kroner. The antidepressant Cipralex (escitalopram) slipped 4% to 1.47 billion kroner, hit by generic competition in Spain while the US version of the product - sold by Forest Laboratories as Lexapro - sank 55%% to 336 million kroner, due to patent expiry across the Atlantic.

The Alzheimer's disease drug Ebixa (memantine) increased 11% to 763 million kroner, while sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson's disease slipped 1% to 276 million kroner. As for Lundbeck's newer products, Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's disease posted sales of 281 million kroner, up 35%, while epilepsy drug Sabril (vigabatrin) brought in 85 million kroner, an increase of 14%.

Chief executive Ulf Wiinberg said "we are off to a good start for the year and on track to meet our expectations". He added that "we are also on track with the diversification of our product portfolio", with the launches of Lexapro in Japan, plus the antipsychotic Sycrest/Saphris (asenapine) and Onfi (clobazam) for the treatment of Lennox Gastaut-syndrome.

Mr Wiinberg noted that during the next 18 months, Lundbeck will potentially launch four new products. These include Selincro (nalmefene) for the treatment of alcohol dependence and a new antidepressant Lu AA21004.

For 2012, Lundbeck still expects revenues of 14.50-15.20 billion kroner, down from 2011's total of just over 16 billion kroner. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation should be in the region of 3.00-3.50 billion kroner, down from EBITDA of 4.63 billion kroner last year.