Business Irish

Sunday 25 February 2018

Elan CEO Martin confirms his intention to step down in May

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

ELAN chief executive Kelly Martin has said he still plans to leave the drug company in May -- despite the group's failure to find a successor.

Mr Martin, a former Merrill Lynch banker who has led Elan since 2003, announced two years ago that he intended to step down in 2012.

He will act as a consultant to the group until next January.

Mr Martin took over at a chaotic juncture in the company's history and nursed it back to health by selling some drugs in order to focus on a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

He said yesterday that there had been "tremendous interest globally" in the top job, adding that Elan was a "different kind of company", so his replacement would need to take a five-to-10-year view of the business.

The chief executive was speaking as the company reported that sales rose 19pc last year to $1.07bn (€800m).

That excludes the impact of its drug-technology unit, which was sold to Alkermes for just over $1bn last year.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), on the same basis, more than doubled last year to $146.7m.

In the last quarter, sales were 18pc higher at $271m, while adjusted EBITDA doubled to $29.7m.

Elan's chief financial officer, Nigel Clerkin, predicted that the company's revenue in the current year would rise to between $1.2bn and $1.25bn, while adjusted EBITDA will be more than $200m.

Elan now derives virtually all its revenue from the multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri, which it markets in conjunction with US firm Biogen-Idec.

The drug delivered revenue of $1.064bn for Elan last year, compared to $851.5m in 2010. A total of 64,400 people around the world -- about half of them in the US -- used it at the end of 2011.

Elan thinks the overall figure, particularly in the US, could climb significantly after it introduced a blood test that allows potential users to gauge their susceptibility to a potentially life-threatening brain disease that is linked to using the drug.

Just over 100 people have contracted the disease so far.

Mr Clerkin also said that Elan was likely to have to inject between $60m and $80m into Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen AI to fund ongoing research into an Alzheimer's treatment. Elan owns 50pc of Janssen, while Johnson & Johnson owns 18pc of Elan.

Shares in Elan fell over 3pc in early trading yesterday, before paring most of the decline to close down 0.5pc at €10.43 in Dublin.

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