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ABBOTT Rx/NUTRITIONAL SALES INCREASE 8.6% FOR QUARTER TO $1.08 BIL.; ROBERTS SALES JUMP 144% IN 1992; CENTOCOR QUARTERLY BURN RATE IS $30 MIL., WILL DROP TO $25 MIL.

Executive Summary

Abbott's prescription drug and nutritional product sales increased 8.6% in the first quarter to $1.08 bil., the company reported April 8. Drug and nutritional sales grew a bit more slowly than total corporate sales, which rose 8.9% to $2.05 bil. Abbott's hospital and laboratory product sales increased 9.3% for the quarter to $963 mil., Abbott said. Earnings for the quarter were up 17.4% to $345.5 mil. Abbott is "pleased by the success of our new anti-infective Biaxin, and the continuing growth of our medical nutritional business," Abbott Chairman and CEO Duane Burnham commented. Biaxin (clarithromycin) was on track to post sales of over $200 mil. worldwide in 1992, Burnham reported in November ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 16, 1992, p. 18). Through January, Biaxin was generating about 400,000 new prescriptions per month in the U.S., substantially ahead of other recent antibiotic launches ("The Pink Sheet" March 8, p. 7). Abbott international sales growth of 9.5% outpaced U.S. sales growth of 8.6% in the quarter. Abbott's U.S. business accounted for $1.28 bil. compared to $767 mil. in international markets. R&D spending for the quarter was up 8.6% to $202 mil. Roberts Pharmaceutical sales jumped 144% in 1992, reaching $33 mil. Product sales of $25.3 mil. were up 136%, the company added. Prescription products accounted for $19.1 mil., or 75%, of total product sales in 1992, Roberts said. Fourth quarter sales were $12.8 mil., a 151% increase. "It is important to note that the improved financial results achieved in the fourth quarter are not materially impacted by the sales and operating results from the prescription products acquired in late December 1992," Roberts Chairman and CEO Robert Vukovich remarked. "The first quarter of 1993 will include a full three months of financial results from these significant product acquisitions." In December, Roberts acquired three multi-source products from Searle as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb's Quibron theophylline line. Roberts also launched the gonadotropin secretion inhibitor Supprelin in December ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 4, T&G-2). The niche products firm plans to introduce the antiarrhythmic Ethmozine, acquired from DuPont Merck, in the U.K. and France "this year," the company said. Roberts named former Bristol-Myers Squibb exec Stuart Goss to head the company's European business. Roberts has abandoned development of five compounds it was pursuing in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute. One, Hexabid (hexamethylene-bisacetamide), has undergone Phase II testing but "did not meet the company's efficacy expectations." The other four (Cyplatate, Cytovert, Norpram and Veramine) were in preclinical development and have been dropped by Roberts "to enable the company to better focus its resources on the accelerated development of its late stage products and the growth of its currently marketed pharmaceuticals." Roberts reported a loss of $8.8 mil. for the year compared to a $5.1 mil. loss in 1991. For the fourth quarter, Roberts posted a loss of $1.2 mil. compared to a loss of $941,000 in the fourth quarter of 1991. Roberts increased its cash position from $14.2 mil. at the end of 1991 to $43.9 mil. at the end of 1992, the company noted. Centocor's "cash burn was about $30 mil." in the fourth quarter, the company reported. The firm ended 1992 with $150.2 mil. in cash and investments. Centocor "is making continued progress in reducing its cash burn, which in the first quarter of 1992 exceeded $50 mil.," CEO David Holveck said. "We expect the cash burn for the current first quarter to be approximately $25 mil." despite the most recent setback for Centoxin. Centocor took a $64.9 mil. charge to earnings for the year to write off Centoxin inventories. A second Phase III trial of the antisepsis monoclonal antibody was suspended in January and scrapped in March ("The Pink Sheet" March 22, T&G-11). "The fourth quarter results reflect the recall of HA-1A in Europe," Centocor said. The firm reported pharmaceutical sales of negative $2.5 mil. to account for the recall. "The latest quarter also includes a charge of $11.2 mil. related to the proposed settlement of securities litigation." Centocor reported a net loss of the year of $194.1 mil., after a loss of $195.6 mil. in 1991. For the quarter, Centocor was in the red by $89.7 mil., after a $44.2 mil. loss in fourth quarter 1991. Sales for the quarter were $9 mil. and $58.4 mil. for the year. Strong increases in contract revenues helped total revenues more than double for the year. Chart omitted.
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