Pharma company sees €519m profit from drug sale

A Shannon-based pharma firm last year made a profit of €519m from the sale of the intellectual property of its main drug.

New accounts show that UCB Manufacturing Ireland Ltd recorded pre-tax profits of €461.87m that arose chiefly from the sale of the intellectual property of its Parkinson’s disease drug, Neupro.

Neupro is a skin patch which provides continuous drug delivery for the treatment of every stage of Parkinson’s.

Revenues at the firm — formerly Schwarz Pharma — increased from €114.6m to €136.35m. 

The directors’ report states: “Turnover continued to grow in 2015 with an overall increase of 19% to over €136m due mainly to the continuing growth of Neupro in all markets.”

A breakdown of the firm’s revenues shows that the company generated €118.8m of its total revenues from the sale of the drug last year.

The sale of the intellectual property of Neupro was made to a connected firm in the UCB group and according to the directors’ report, the sale was part of UCB’s overall strategy to centralise the intellectual property of its main products.

The directors’ report also refers to the sale of UCB’s active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing facility in Shannon to Avara Pharmaceutical Services in May 2016, indicating that the deal was “part of UCB’s approach to allow a partner bring new activity to the site and leverage the current infrastructure to generate greater levels of efficiency”.

UCB recorded after-tax profits last year of €409.89m after paying corporate tax of €51.9m. The directors of the firm proposed a dividend payout of €175m subsequent to year end. The Belgian-headquartered company’s cash pile last year increased from €1m to €364.7m.

The firm’s staff costs last year decreased marginally going from €10.7m to €10.6m.

Numbers employed by the firm reduced from 124 to 120.

A breakdown of those employed by the firm show that 40 were engaged in administration; 38 in production, 28 in quality (including research and development) and 14 in maintenance.

UCB said it “is actively involved in the development of a range of advanced syntheses and purification processes for active pharmaceutical ingredients”.


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