DUBLIN - Elan Corp. has posted a fourth-quarter loss, but the Irish drug maker forecast a 2010 rebound as sales for its key multiple sclerosis-fighting drug, Tysabri, grow.
Its net loss was $57.7 million, compared with a $169.5 million profit in the final quarter of 2008.
Income for 2008 was boosted by a $234 million tax refund, while last year’s suffered from a $24.4 million charge to refinance debts due in 2011. Setting aside those exceptional items, Elan’s fourth-quarter loss was halved from a year earlier.
Elan said it expects a healthy operating profit in 2010, driven by Tysabri, a product that Elan markets and distributes with Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Tysabri is an industry-leading suppressor of the paralyzing and crippling effects of multiple sclerosis, an incurable disease of the central nervous system.
US and European regulators permit Tysabri to be used as treatment only in the most severe MS cases, because the drug has been linked to a risk of developing a rare, often fatal brain-inflammation disease called PML.
Elan’s fourth-quarter sales rose 11.2 percent to $300 million, reflecting a 37 percent growth in Tysabri sales.