ABBOTT LABS FIRST HALF DRUG/NUTRITIONAL PRODUCT SALES UP 12.8% TO $1.5 BIL.; GENENTECH HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE SALES SURGE BY MORE THAN 30% TO $41.2 MIL.
Abbott Labs' worldwide pharmaceutical and nutritional products sales increased 12.8% in the first half of 1990 to $1.5 bil. Hospital and lab products also turned in double-digit gains for the first six months of 1990, up 12.2% to $1.4 bil. Consolidated sales in the second quarter were up 14% to over$1.5 bil., and through six months are ahead 12.5% to $2.94 bil. Abbott net earnings were up 13% to $240.2 mil. in the quarter and 13.3% to $465.2 mil. in the first half. Abbott Chairman and CEO Duane Burnham called the second quarter results "gratifying." However, he described several second quarter events as "even more significant," including the overseas launches of two new anti-infectives, clarithromycin and tosufloxacin, and "the first new automated allergy diagnostic system," Abbott Matrix, which launched in April as an alternative/adjunct to the commonly preferred skin tests. Burnham noted that Abbott received approval from FDA in April for broader use of the injectable calcitriol product Calcijex. The product, which has been approved for raising calcium levels in hemodialysis patients, has added a claim for treatment of bone mass loss in hemodialysis patients. Abbott's second-generation macrolide antibiotic clarithromycin, licensed from Taisho Pharmaceuticals, Japan, was launched in Italy during the second quarter and is now also available in Ireland, Chile, Uruguay and Guatemala. The NDA for clarithromycin, marketed internationally as Klacid (formerly Claricid), was filed with the FDA at the end of 1989. Tosufloxacin is a new quinolone anti-infective that Abbott markets under a cross-licensing agreement with Toyama Chemical Co. The drug was launched in Japan during the quarter. Tosufloxacin is in development in the U.S. and Europe, but Abbott's first quinolone priority is temafloxacin, which was submitted to FDA in late November. Also introduced in Japan during the quarter was the inhalation anesthetic Florane (isoflurane). The product is not marketed in North America. Sales of Genentech's human growth hormone, Protropin surged by 32.5% in the second quarter to $41.2 mil. and compare to revenues of $35 mil. in the first quarter 1990. Genentech attributed the sharp increase to "more new growth hormone inadequate patients starting treatment, and higher revenues per existing patient, due to increased average size of patient." The company noted: "There is direct correlation between the amount of Protropin prescribed and the size of the patient." TPA (Activase) sales edged ahead 0.6% to $48.3 mil. compared to the second quarter of 1989, but were down from $54.9 mil. in the first quarter of this year. The company said the noticeable difference between first and second quarter 1990 sales "appears to be related to variability between shipments for stocking assistance programs and customer inventory levels rather than product usage." However, Genentech noted that there has been "a minimal decline in market share to date" following the March release of the GISSI-2 TPA vs. streptokinase clinical trial results and new competition from SmithKline Beecham's Eminase and streptokinase products. Genentech marketing, selling and general administrative costs increased to $39.7 mil. in the quarter and have run to $78.2 mil. so far this year, up 23.7% and 27.9%, respectively. Genentech President and CEO Kirk Raab attributed the more than 25% increases "primarily" to the more competitive thrombolytic market. Corporate sales were 15% higher for the quarter at $112.5 mil., and increased 23.2% in the half to $232.8 mil. However, second quarter earnings were off 45% to $5.3 mil. Genentech stockholders voted June 8 in favor of the transaction under which Roche will acquire 60% of the company, but the deal is contingent upon Federal Trade Commission approval. The FTC requested more information on the deal March 23. Genentech incurred $7.2 mil. in costs related to the proposed merger with Roche. For the first half, net income was up 9% to$18.6 mil.; however, Raab noted that the company expects to incur a loss for the year because of the Roche merger deal costs. R&D expenditures climbed 10% in the quarter to $42.1 mil. and are $79.5 mil. year-to-date, up 4.5% from the same period a year ago. Genentech currently has six products in clinical trials. Most recently, DNase entered human trials as a potential treatment for cystic fibrosis.
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