Europe's biggest biotechnology company, Serono, has reported a 5.2 per cent rise in net income for 2001 with sales driven by its flagship multiple sclerosis treatment, Rebif.
The Geneva-based company's net income was up to $316.7 million (SFr534.6), with Rebif sales up 54.1 per cent to reach $338.4 million. Sales as a whole increased 15 per cent to $1.249 billion.
The figures were in line with analysts expectations but there was further good news as the company announced expected the US Food and Drug Administration to reach a decision on Rebif in March. A positive decision would end the US marketing exclusivity of the rival MS drug, Avonex, made by Biogen.
Serono shares jumped by more than 5 per cent in early trading on Wednesday.
The company also reported a 14.7 per cent growth in its fertility treatment, Gonal-F. But it said further expansion in this area could be slower because many prospective patients have delayed the start of in vitro fertilisation treatment in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the US.
Serono has proposed a cash dividend of SFr6.25 per share.
swissinfo with agencies
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