CARDIZEM, CARAFATE, OS-CAL & GAVISCON STRONG PERFORMANCES BOOST MARION's THIRD QUARTER NET EARNINGS 50% TO $25.6 MIL.; TRANSDERM-NITRO FUELING ALZA's GROWTH
With strong performances from its leading Rx and OTC product lines, Marion reported a 50% jump in net earnings, to $25.6 mil., for the third quarter ended March 31, on a 33.4% sales increase to $211.2 mil. "These results are attributable primarily to the consistent sales growth of Cardizem (diltiazem), a significant increase in sales of Carafate (sucralfate) and the success of the national advertising campaigns for Os-Cal and Gaviscon," explained Marion President and CEO Fred Lyons Jr. "Based upon the strength of these trends, it is anticipated that fiscal year net earnings per share growth will exceed 50% for the third consecutive year." The company expects that in the fourth quarter Cardizem, which is currently growing by more than 100,000 new Rxs per month, will become the first product in Marion's history to reach sales of $100 mil. in a single fiscal year. According to the firm, both new and total Rxs per month have doubled over the past year. While Cardizem is currently indicated only for angina, the company noted that "the product is being evaluated for additional dosage forms and other cardiovascular conditions." The drug is in clinicals in a sustained release form and for other indications including hypertension and myocardial infarction prevention. The firm indicated that sales growth for the ulcer healing agent Carafate "was significant during the quarter in terms of new and total Rxs written." Carafate sales growth during the quarter reflected "an increase in sales and marketing resources directed to the ulcer market," Marion said. The drug is currently awaiting FDA approval for use in gastric ulcer recurrance and reflux esophagitis. Higher U.S. Tagamet sales were a "major factor" in SmithKline Beckman's 7.1% increase in volume, to $770 mil., Chairman Henry Wendt said. "Other contributors to quarterly sales growth were anti-infective products, bioanalytical systems, clinical laboratory services, the eye and skin care business and animal health products and consumer products." Net earnings increased 1% to $131.8 mil. Asserting that Ancef showed "excellent growth," Wendt said the line was led "by wide hospital acceptance" of the product packaged in Baxter's premixed Mini-Bag. Higher demand for Contac spurred OTC sales, he added. The SmithKline exec indicated that Dyazide sales were affected by Lederle's triamterene/hydrochlorothiazide product, Maxzide. Sales of Dyazide were off "slightly compared to the first quarter of 1984 due to increased competition," Wendt said. In February, Pharmaceutical Data Services reported that Maxzide sales were approaching $1 mil. per month ("The Pink Sheet" Feb. 18, p. 15). Robins attributed an 8% increase in first quarter operating earnings, to $39.2 mil., to increased sales and an improved product mix. Volume advanced 6% in the period to $166.4 mil. The two factors Robins said "more than offset a 21% increase in spending for research and development." Net earnings, aided by an $8.5 mil. extraordinary gain, increased 88% to $30 mil. "The extraordinary gain represents recognition of additional deferred tax benefits from a reserve established by the company in 1984 for the minimum cost associated with the disposition of pending and future compensatory claims and litigation expenses related to the Dalkon Shield," Robins explained ("The Pink Sheet" April 8, p. 8). The sales increase, company President and CEO E. Claiborne Robins Jr. said, was due to "the continued strength" of Reglan, Micro-K, and Quinidex. He also cited the performances of the coccidiostat Bio-Cox and the Quinton Instrument Div. Transderm-Nitro is fueling Alza's growth, the company reported in its financial statement. The company cited royalties from the nitroglycerin patch, marketed by Ciba-Geigy, as a "major factor" in Alza's 126.9% increase in first quarter earnings, to $1.1 mil. Volume increased 33.2% to $9.1 mil. The company indicated that earnings are expected to continue at "approximately the current level" until profits are realized from sales of two new Alza-developed products which will be introduced this year: Catapres-TTS, a once-weekly transdermal clonidine patch that will be marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim, and Travenol Infusor, a disposable, lightweight, wearable 24-hour system for intravenous therapy which will be manufactured and marketed by Baxter Travenol. Catapres-TTS received FDA approval in October 1984 and had been scheduled for introduction in early 1985. Alza said in its financial statement that Boehringer Ingelheim expects to launch the product "in the second half of 1985." Chart omitted.
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