UCB maintains 2014 forecast after solid new drug sales

BRUSSELS, April 24 Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:20am EDT

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BRUSSELS, April 24 (Reuters) - Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB maintained its 2014 outlook on Thursday after solid growth of its range of newer drugs at the start of the year.

The company, which makes drugs targeted at diseases of the immune and central nervous systems, said sales in the Jan-March period rose 5 percent to 840 million euros ($1.16 billion) thanks to double-digit percentage growth of its three new treatments.

UCB repeated its expectation for 2014 revenue of between 3.5 and 3.6 billion euros, recurring core profit (EBITDA) of 740-770 million euros and core earnings per share of 1.90-2.05 euros.

UCB said sales of epilepsy treatment Vimpat, one of three major new drugs launched in recent years, rose 19 percent in the first three months to 105 million euros.

Sales of Cimzia, to treat bowel disorder Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, were up 31 percent at 160 million euros.

Sales of Neupro, for Parkinson's disease and restless leg syndrome, rose by 43 percent to 52 million euros.

The increases were offset by a 2 percent drop in sales of epilepsy drug Keppra, which now faces generic competition. UCB has a host of other older treatments such as for allergies and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which are off patent in Europe and North America. ($1 = 0.7231 Euros) (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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