Alkermes looks to schizophrenia drug approval as sales jump 24%

Heavy investment in R&D and set-up costs for new therapies push biopharma group to $30.6m loss

Richard Pops, chief executive  of Alkermes at their Dublin offices. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Richard Pops, chief executive of Alkermes at their Dublin offices. Photograph: Aidan Crawley


Revenue at Irish drug group Alkermes jumped almost 24 per cent in the first three months of the year, to $161.2 million, ahead of analyst expectations.

However, sharply increased spending on research and development and on sales, general and administrative roles saw the group report a net loss of $30.6 million, compared to $24.3 million this time last year.

The SG&A costs rose as the company prepares for the launch of its schizophrenia drug aripiprazole lauroxil.

Chief executive Richard Pops said Alkermes was “on the threshold of the next phase of growth and is in the midst of an extremely active time at the company as we advance one of the most exciting late-stage pipelines in CNS [central nervous system] medicines in the industry”.

Alkermes is investing heavily in three drug candidates targeting depression, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

Mr Pops said aripiprazole lauroxil, a fourth drug, was “moving toward FDA approval and launch later this year”.

The company reiterated its full-year projections from March following the latest figures. Chief financial officer James Frates said the first-quarter figures reflected strong revenues from its existing portfolio of drugs and “focused investment in our promising late stage pipeline of CNS product candidates that will drive future growth”.

On a non-GAAP basis, Alkermes reported earnings per share of six US cent, down from 11 cent in the year ago period. Many companies argue that non-GAAP figures present a more accurate reflection of company operating performance.

Alkermes became an Irish company following its takeover of Elan Drug Technologies, the Athlone based division of the former Iseq heavyweight Elan, since acquired itself by Perrigo.