INGELHEIM, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim ended 2018 with net sales of 17.5 billion euros. Adjusted for currency effects, as well as one-off effects due to the asset swap with Sanofi in 2017, net sales grew by 4 per cent. At 3.2 billion euros (+2.8%), R&D expenses increased to 18.1 per cent of annual net sales.
In the process, the company has focused on specific therapeutic areas. “We want to make a significant contribution towards a superior treatment of cancer,” says Hubertus von Baumbach, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors. “In addition, we are conducting research, among others, into fibrotic, metabolic and immunological diseases. Our research pipeline is well-filled.”
At almost 1 billion euros (+9%), investments in tangible assets were higher than ever before. Operating income again amounted to 3.5 billion euros (- 0.4%), while Group profit after tax increased to 2.1 billion euros. “In 2018, the return on net sales increased from 19.3 to 19.8 per cent, while our equity ratio rose from nearly 38 per cent to 40 per cent. Thus we are also a very healthy company from a financial point of view,” remarks Michael Schmelmer, Member of the Board of Managing Directors responsible for Finance.
The average number of employees in all regions increased slightly to a total of 50,370 (+2%).
Human pharmaceuticals – strong portfolio
At 12.6 billion euros, human pharmaceuticals contributed to 72 per cent of total net sales in 2018. Foreseeable declines in net sales, due to expiring patents for innovative medicines, were more than compensated for, this business thereby achieving currency-adjusted growth of 5.1 per cent. Revenues from the global licensing business were lower than in the previous year and have reduced the overall rate of growth in this business area to 3.3 per cent.
As in previous years, the respiratory medicine SPIRIVA® achieved the highest net sales contributions with 2.4 billion euros (-11.4% currency-adjusted), followed by the type-2 diabetes medicine family JARDIANCE®, including SYNJARDY® and GLYXAMBI®, with 1.8 billion euros (+52.5% currency-adjusted), the anticoagulant PRADAXA® with 1.5 billion euros (+7.0% currency-adjusted), the type-2 diabetes medicine TRAJENTA® with 1.4 billion euros (+9.0% currency-adjusted), as well as OFEV® for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), with 1.1 billion euros (+28.7% currency-adjusted).
At 2.8 billion euros, research and development investments in human pharmaceuticals corresponded to a 22.1% share of human pharmaceuticals’ net sales. For the total of 90 projects in all phases of the research process, the goal is for 75 per cent of them to be either the first molecules in their active ingredient class or the first in a new therapeutic area. In oncology, the focal points are cancers of the lung, stomach and intestine, while in fibrotic diseases the focus is on systemic scleroderma with interstitial lung disease. In metabolic diseases, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is the main focus of research. In immunology, research is giving attention to chronic inflammatory diseases of the skin and intestine. Other projects address diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, obesity and retinopathy.
Animal health – Technical integration completed
In animal health, our focus is on innovative vaccines, antiparasitic medicines and further therapy solutions for livestock and pets. In 2018, the three antiparasitic medicines NEXGARD®, FRONTLINE® and HEARTGARD®, plus the vaccine INGELVAC CIRCOFLEX®, were the four best-selling products. Net sales of 4 billion euros represented 23 per cent of total net sales.
In the second year of the Merial transaction, this business has thereby achieved significant net sales growth, with a currency-adjusted rate of 5.6 per cent, while simultaneously undertaking integration efforts. “We have focused on providing our customers with continuous supply from day one. As a result, we have achieved good growth and the technical integration is successfully completed,” says Hubertus von Baumbach. The innovation potential in animal health, where it interrelates with human pharmaceutical research, deserves particular attention.
Biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing maintains lead position
The biopharmaceuticals business maintained its lead position in the contract manufacturing segment in the financial year 2018 and provided 4 per cent of overall net sales. The order situation has continued to develop positively and provided for a high level of capacity utilization in biopharmaceutical production.
Outlook for 2019
For the current financial year, Boehringer Ingelheim is expecting slight growth in net sales and further intensive investment activities on a comparable basis. “In Europe alone we are planning investments of more than 3 billion euros within the next five years,” says von Baumbach. “The key precondition for this are competitive overall conditions at our European sites.”
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