Business Irish

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Elan posts its first operating profit in nine years

Elan: fourth-quarter loss. Photo: Bloomberg News
Elan: fourth-quarter loss. Photo: Bloomberg News

Trista Kelley and Louisa Fahy

Drugmaker Elan, which is partly owned by Johnson & Johnson, reported a fourth-quarter loss after tax gains weren’t repeated. For 2010, it forecast an operating profit before items for the first time in nine years.

Elan had a loss of $57.7m, compared with a profit of $169.5m in the prior-year period, the company said today in a Business Wire statement.

Earnings in 2010 will be bolstered by an increase in revenue from the Tysabri multiple sclerosis medicine, Elan said.

Global sales of the drug topped $1bn for the first time last year, rising 30pc, even as reports of a deadly brain infection linked to the treatment increased.

Tysabri is prescribed with caution because of the side effect. The partnership with J&J is aimed at reducing Elan’s risks and cost base as it seeks to increase the number of Tysabri patients to almost 100,000 in the next several years.

Elan’s results “followed the trend seen over the last number of quarters,” analyst Jack Gorman at Dublin-based securities firm Davy said in a research note.

The figures show “a combination of solid revenue growth and strict operating cost discipline.” Davy is Elan’s house broker.

Elan rose as much as 8.2 cents, or 1.6pc, to €5.22 in Dublin, and traded at €5.15 as of 9:55am. The stock has advanced 23pc this year, raising its market value to €3bn.

Sales of Tysabri reached $216m in the fourth quarter, US partner Biogen said yesterday.

The drug has been linked to 31 cases of a deadly brain disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, since it returned to the market in 2006 following a sales suspension, according to a report from the US Food and Drug Administration.


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