Lundbeck earnings undercut by Lexapro decline

Danish drugmaker Lundbeck, whose Lexapro sales have been depressed by generics, managed to maintain a flat operating profit in its third quarter as it works on a potential new blockbuster in hopes of better days to come.

Its operating profit was DKK661 million ($113 million), nearly unchanged from the DKK660 million in the same quarter a year ago. Its revenues, however, tanked, falling to DKK3.62 billion ($619 million) from DKK3.98 billion ($680.6 million) a year ago, according to MarketWatch.

Loss of revenue in the U.S. from Lexapro, a drug it also licenses to Forest Laboratories ($FRX), was so severe that the company provided all of its financial filings in amounts that excluded the impact of those revenues. Lexapro sales in the U.S. were off 89% to $9.2 million from $85.2 million in the Q3 2011. Reuters points out that Lundbeck has said previously that its earnings will be stagnant until 2015 because of competition from generics. The company does have promising products in the pipeline.

A month ago, Lundbeck and its partner Takeda filed for regulatory approval of vortioxetine in Europe as well as the U.S. It has been estimated that the new antidepressant could hit peak revenues of $2 billion. There's always a demand for new therapies, since currently available drugs can lose their effectiveness or don't work for all patients. Lundbeck has a broad slate of data from multiple trials on the new therapy, most of which came in positive.

- read the Reuters story 
- more from MarketWatch
- here's the earnings release

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