Lundbeck lifts full-year guidance despite drop in third-quarter sales, profit

Headline results for the third quarter:

Revenue

DKK 4.1 billion ($610 million)

-11%

Profit

DKK 751 million ($112 million)

Versus DKK 1.1 billion ($164 million)

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"We have significantly strengthened the pipeline," remarked CEO Deborah Dunsire, through the purchases of Alder BioPharmaceuticals and Abide Therapeutics, and "at the same time continued the strong double-digit growth in our strategic brands."

Other results:

  • Brintellix/Trintellix: DKK 724 million ($108 million), up 33%
  • Cipralex/Lexapro: DKK 604 million ($90 million), up 9%
  • Northera: DKK 599 million ($89 million), up 38%
  • Rexulti/Rxulti: DKK 588 million ($88 million), up 30%
  • Abilify Maintena: DKK 506 million ($75 million), up 24%, showing "steady  growth"
  • Onfi: DKK 213 million ($32 million), down 76%, due to generic competition having lost exclusivity in October 2018
  • Sabril: DKK 181 million ($27 million), down 45%, following the launch of the first generic version in the third quarter of 2017
  • North America: DKK 2.4 billion ($357 million), down 15%, mainly hit by the uptake of generic versions of Onfi
  • International markets: DKK 1 billion ($149 million), up 15%, driven by growth for Abilify Maintena and Brintellix
  • Europe: DKK 785 million ($117 million), up 5%, with the region showing "strong underlying demand"

Looking ahead:

Lundbeck now expects revenue this year of between DKK 16.7 billion ($2.5 billion) and DKK 16.9 billion ($2.5 billion), lifted from prior guidance of DKK 16.3 billion ($2.4 billion) to DKK 16.7 billion ($2.5 billion), citing a "better-than-expected sales performance." Meanwhile, earnings are now forecast to be in the range of DKK 3.4 billion ($506 million) to DKK 3.7 billion ($551 million), boosted from a previous estimate of DKK 3.2 billion ($476 million) to DKK 3.6 billion ($536 million).

"We expected Onfi's decline to really affect us in 2019, but be mostly washed through by 2020," commented Dunsire, adding "so our North American market returns to growth in 2020 and overall Lundbeck returns to revenue growth in 2020 because of that." However, the executive noted that next year will be "impacted by significant investment" to support the US launch of eptinezumab and activities surrounding further regulatory filings for the migraine therapy.

What analysts said:

Analysts at Jefferies noted that "commercial challenges" could lie in wait for the US launch of eptinezumab since it "could be difficult to differentiate [the CGRP inhibitor] against big pharma muscle."

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