Lundbeck posts 5% rise in Q4 sales, topping forecasts

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

Revenue

DKK 4.4 billion ($646 million, forecasts of DKK 4.3 billion)

+5%

Profit

DKK 230 million ($33 million)

Versus DKK 654 million ($96 million)

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

What the company said:

CEO Deborah Dunsire noted that 2019 sales of Abilify Maintena, Brintellix/Trintellix, Northera and Rexulti/Rxulti, the company's four "strategic brands," were up 28% over the prior year, and "we bolstered and reshaped our pipeline" through the acquisition of Alder Biopharmaceuticals, gaining the intravenous CGRP inhibitor eptinezumab, and the purchase of Abide Therapeutics.

She added that "in 2020, the company returns to growth of 2% to 6%, anticipating continued momentum in the strategic brands, as well as the US launch of eptinezumab in migraine prevention pending FDA approval," with a decision expected by February 21.

Other results:

  • Brintellix/Trintellix: DKK 803 million ($118 million), up 26%
  • Northera: DKK 722 million ($106 million), up 38%, partly the result of a weak quarter in the prior year stemming from an "unanticipated patient backlog"
  • Rexulti/Rxulti: DKK 650 million ($95 million), up 25%
  • Cipralex/Lexapro: DKK 505 million ($74 million), up 39%, with gains due to a "lack of shipments to China in the fourth quarter of last year"
  • Abilify Maintena: DKK 504 million ($74 million), up 22%
  • Onfi: DKK 212 million ($31 million), down 57%, hit by generic competition since losing exclusivity in late 2018
  • Sabril: DKK 204 million ($30 million), down 43%
  • North America: DKK 2.6 billion ($382 million), down 1%
  • International markets: DKK 870 million ($128 million), up 25%, with performance impacted by the timing of shipments
  • Europe: DKK 806 million ($118 million), up 15%, partly due to quarterly fluctuations affecting Abilify Maintena and Cipralex positively, but also "strong underlying growth" of Abilify Maintena and Brintellix
  • Full-year revenue: DKK 17 billion ($2.5 billion), down 6%
  • Full-year profit: DKK 2.7 billion ($367 million), versus DKK 3.9 billion ($573 million) in the prior year

Looking ahead:

Lundbeck noted that it will be impacted this year by investments in launch and development activities for eptinezumab and as a result earnings are expected to be between DKK 2.2 billion ($323 million) and DKK 2.7 billion ($397 million). Meanwhile, annual sales are forecast to be in the range of DKK 17.4 billion ($2.56 billion) to DKK 18 billion ($2.64 billion).

In addition, following the coronavirus outbreak, the company said it sees "increased uncertainty on product distribution and sales in China for 2020." Further, as China is Lundbeck's second biggest market, the drugmaker said the "potential impact is difficult to quantify at this point of time. The financial guidance ranges for 2020 are therefore wider than normal."

Pipeline updates:

Lundbeck said it discontinued development of three pipeline candidates during the quarter, including Rexulti/Rxulti for the acute treatment of manic episodes in bipolar I disorder as it did not meet the primary endpoint of a Phase III study, as well as the early-stage compounds Lu AF20513 and Lu AF76432, which were being evaluated as potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

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