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Serono sales leap on Rebif success

Serono's sales leapt in the second quarter

(Keystone Archive)

Europe's largest biotechnology group, Serono, released news of a 42.5 per cent leap in second quarter net profit on Tuesday to SFr180 million ($104 million) following soaring sales of its multiple sclerosis treatment, Rebif.

Rebif sales posted a 58 per cent increase while the company's fertility drug, Gonal-F, also saw strong growth of over 20 per cent. Total revenues increased by a fifth to SFr637 million, beating analysts' expectations.

"We have delivered another excellent performance in this quarter, driven by our two flagship products Gonal-F and Rebif, which continue to gain market share," said Serono CEO, Ernesto Bertarelli, in a statement.

Serono is engaged in a bitter dispute with rival American company, Biogen, which is promoting its own multiple sclerosis treatment, Avonex. Biogen accuses Serono of breaking a court order banning publication of a comparative survey of the two drugs.

Tuesday's figures show Rebif's international sales growth outstripping that of Avonex. The United States Food and Drugs Administration has requested more information from Serono about Rebif's performance, delaying its US licence.

Serono on Tuesday also revealed that two new molecules - one for MS and one to treat premature labour - had entered pre-clinical development.

Swissinfo with agencies

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