Shire changes leadership, still depends heavily on ADHD medicine sales

Posted: February 16, 2013

Shire P.L.C. will soon complete a change in leadership and is the subject of takeover speculation, but the drugmaker remains in the thick of the growing market for medicines used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Thursday brought more evidence of Shire's dependence on that group of drugs and that competitors are seeking to take some of those sales.

The Ireland-based Shire, whose U.S. operations are run from Wayne, reported that fourth-quarter revenue increased from $1.14 billion in 2011 to $1.20 billion in 2012, and that full-year revenue increased from $4.26 billion to $4.68 billion.

Vyvanse, Adderall XR, Intuniv, and Equasym - all ADHD drugs - accounted for $1.78 billion in sales. At $1.03 billion in sales, Vyvanse has more than twice the sales of Shire's next-best-selling drug.

Net income, however, dropped. Fourth-quarter profit fell from $255 million in 2011 to $42 million in the same period in 2012. For the year, profit declined from $865 million to $745 million.

Several factors in the decline were related to ADHD products.

The company recently said that it had set aside about $57.5 million to settle a civil investigation by the U.S. Justice Department's Philadelphia office into how the company marketed some of its drugs, including Vyvanse and Adderall XR.

Shire agreed to pay $48 million to Impax Laboratories to settle a suit over how Shire was fulfilling a contract to supply Adderall XR for Impax to sell as a so-called authorized generic.

On Thursday, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd., whose Americas headquarters is in North Wales, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to join the generic competitors selling their own versions of Adderall XR. Shire sales of the drug fell 19 percent, to $429 million for the year.

Last week, Bloomberg News published an article quoting several stock market analysts as saying AstraZeneca should try to buy Shire to help AstraZeneca's future.

Shire's near future, at least, will mean new leadership. Flemming Ornskov joined the company in April and will replace chief executive officer Angus Russell.

Noting that Thursday was Valentine's Day, Russell said on a conference call with analysts, "For me, it has been a bit like a love affair with this company."

Contact David Sell at 215-854-4506 or dsell@ He blogs at and on Twitter @phillypharma.

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