Oncology sales led by Lenvima drive Eisai's growth in fourth quarter

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

Revenue

JPY 209.6 billion ($2 billion)

Versus JPY 175.6 billion ($1.6 billion)

Profit

JPY 48.5 billion ($454 million)

Versus JPY 23.4 billion ($219 million)

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

What the company said:

Eisai noted that quarterly sales "increased mainly due to Lenvima demonstrating significant growth…absorbing the factors that contribute to decrease in revenue, including transfer of the generic pharmaceutical subsidiary in April 2019."

Other results:

  • Oncology sales: JPY 43.9 billion ($411 million), up from JPY 32.3 billion ($302 million) in the prior year
    • Lenvima: JPY 31.4 billion ($294 million), up from JPY 19.2 billion ($180 million) in the prior year
    • Halaven: JPY 9.7 billion ($91 million), down from 10 billion ($94 million) in the prior year
  • Neurology sales: JPY 38.5 billion ($360 million), down from JPY 40.8 billion ($382 million) in the prior year
    • Fycompa: JPY 6.5 billion ($61 million), up from JPY 4.9 billion ($46 million) in the prior year
    • Belviq sales in the US: JPY 300 million ($2.8 million), down from JPY 1 billion ($9.4 million) in the prior year, following withdrawal of the product in February at the request of the FDA
  • Full-year revenue: JPY 695.6 billion ($6.5 billion), up 8.2%
  • Full-year profit: JPY 121.8 billion ($1.1 billion), up 92.1%

Looking ahead:

Eisai expects sales for the fiscal year ending March 2021 to be JPY 719 billion ($6.7 billion), reflecting year-on-year growth of 3.4%, with profit forecast to fall 45% to JPY 67 billion ($626 million). The company explained that the guidance includes a decrease of about 3% in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's negative affect on business activities.

Pipeline updates:

Eisai disclosed that since its last quarterly results presentation in January, Phase II development of MORAb-003 for platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer has been discontinued, as well as mid-stage work on MORAb-004 for melanoma.

The Japanese drugmaker also indicated that clinical study planning is underway to test eritoran, also known as E5564, in hospitalised patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and have worsening symptoms. Eisai suggested that eritoran, a compound it developed as a treatment for severe sepsis, may suppress activation of TLR4, found upstream of cytokine gene expression signaling. According to the company, the treatment "may prevent severe lung inflammation by inhibiting multiple cytokine production, such as IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IL-1-beta, all at once by a single agent."

Eisai added that it is also providing support for clinical testing of the monoclonal antibody gimsilumab, which is licensed to Roivant Sciences, with the latter company having recently initiated a placebo-controlled trial for acute respiratory distress syndrome due to COVID-19. Eisai indicated that gimsilumab blocks GM-CSF, which may cause immunopathology associated with SARS-CoV-2.

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