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UCB's next generation drugs take over after blockbuster expiry

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian pharmaceuticals group UCB said on Monday that sales of its three new main products had for the first time overtaken those of its expiring blockbuster epilepsy treatment Keppra and retained its full-year guidance.

UCB, which makes drugs targeted at diseases of the immune and central nervous systems, said on Monday sales of Cimzia, Neupro and Vimpat rose 50 percent to 665 million euros over the first nine months and were now treating about 382,000 patients.

UCB said it was on course to reach its goal of 1.5 million patients treated with the three drugs, with combined peak sales of at least 3.1 billion euros, in the second half of the decade.

Sales of Cimzia, treating bowel disorder Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, rose 51 percent to 334 million euros. For Neupro, a patch used for Parkinson's disease and restless leg syndrome, sales were up 33 percent to 93 million euros.

Sales of Vimpat, UCB's next generation epilepsy drug, increased 54 percent to 237 million euros.

Keppra sales dropped 13 percent to 652 million euros as generic competitors took advantage of its patent expiry in Europe and North America.

In the first half, sales of Keppra were strong enough in Japan to offset generic competition in Europe and the United States.

The company said overall revenues increased 5 percent to 2.565 billion euros ($3.32 billion). However, based on stable exchange rates they were flat.

UCB is forecasting that 2012 revenues should be at least 3.2 billion euros ($4.14 billion), with recurring core profit between 630 and 660 million euros and core earnings per share about 1.70 euros.

Last year, revenues were 3.25 billion euros and recurring core profit 683 million euros.

($1 = 0.7733 euros)

(Reporting By Robert-Jan Bartunek and Philip Blenkinsop)

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