Lundbeck has posted a strong set of financials for the first quarter, helped by higher-than-expected US revenues from its antidepressant Lexapro.

Sales rose 7% to 4.10 billion Danish kroner, about $818 million, while operating profit before depreciation and amortisation was up 4% to 1.54 billion kroner.

Sales of Cipralex (escitalopram) climbed 3% to 1.54 billion kroner while the US version of the drug, Lexapro, sold by licensee Forest Laboratories, had sales of 741 million kroner, up 8%. The Alzheimer's disease drug Ebixa (memantine) climbed 11% to 687 million kroner, and sales of Azilect (rasagiline), for Parkinson’s disease, leapt 15% to 278 million kroner.

Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's disease, had sales of 208 million kroner, up 71%, while Sabril (vigabatrin) for the treatment of refractory complex partial seizures and the treatment of infantile spasms, contributed 75 million kroner, an increase of 120%.

Lundbeck chief executive Ulf Wiinberg said "it has been a good first quarter and several positive pipeline events have improved our long-term outlook". He noted that at the beginning of the quarter Onfi (clobazam) for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome was filed with the US Food and Drug Administration and recently Lexapro was approved in Japan, "opening up the way for a launch in the second half of the year".