UCB (UCBJF) reported sales results for the first quarter of 2014. Revenues rose 9.1% year over year to approximately $1.2 billion due to strong sales of Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro.
All growth rates mentioned below are on a year-on-year basis and at CER.
Cimzia (Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis) sales increased 36% in the reported quarter due to approval of additional indications which broadened the patient access.
Vimpat (epilepsy) sales increased 23% due to strong sales in the U.S. Neupro, which is marketed as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome, delivered sales growth of 45%. Neupro sales were driven by strong performance in the U.S. and Japan.
Sales of Keppra, another epilepsy treatment, increased 2% due to good performance in Japan.
Vimpat as monotherapy treatment in epilepsy patients with partial-onset seizure is currently under review in the U.S. This supplemental new drug application (sNDA) was accepted in early Oct 2013.
The European Commission granted amended marketing authorization for Cimzia for active axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) in Oct 2013. The FDA approved Cimzia for the treatment of active psoriatic arthritis and active ankylosing spondylitis in Sep 2013 and Oct 2013, respectively. A complete response letter was issued by the FDA for the supplemental Biologics License Application of Cimzia for axSpA.
UCB has been quite active on the agreements front. In Mar 2014, UCB entered into an agreement with Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report) for the discovery and development of therapies for immune-mediated diseases including gastroenterology and arthritis. UCB also signed an exclusive agreement with Biogen Idec Inc. (BIB - ETF report) in Jan 2014. Biogen granted UCB the right to develop and commercialize Biogen’s products for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and hemophilia in selected countries.
2014 Guidance Maintained
UCB expects revenues to be about €3.5 billion to €3.6 billion in 2014. UCB expects recurring EBITDA in the range of €740–770 million and earnings per share in the band of €1.90–€2.05.
UCB carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Strong performance of three products (Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro) along with strength in the emerging markets and Japan has driven UCB’s growth. Investors looking for better-ranked stocks in the biopharma sector may consider companies like Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. , which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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