Sepracor Q2: More Miracles From Marlborough

Last Updated Jul 24, 2009 2:43 PM EDT

Sepracor has once again achieved the impossible by growing sales of its sleeping pill Lunesta despite an almost infinite number of generic and OTC competitors. Lunesta sales were up 2 percent to $151 million in Q2 2009, the company reported.

The basics: revenues increased 11% to $326.2 million; net income was down 88 percent from a one time gain the prior year.

Lunesta results will likely be helped in Q3 by Walmart's decision to leave the drug on its Brand Name Drug Plan but to ax main rival Ambien CR (Sanofi-Aventis) from the same plan. About 700,000 patients are covered under Walmart's plan, one of the largest in the country.

The Marlborough, Mass., company added precious little else on what was wrong with its Lunesta trials in children. (That's right, Sepracor is testing its tranks on kids!). The company gave this statement:

The clinical hold does not relate to any findings observed in the pediatric clinical studies nor does it impact any ongoing eszopiclone clinical trials in adults. The non-clinical data resulting in the clinical hold is not related to carcinogenicity or genetic toxicology.
And while one hesitates to praise managers for laying people off (Sepracor axed 940 people in January), CEO Adrian Adams seems to be doing a good job at the company. Check this chart, which measures the revenue and gross profit yield of every $1 Sepracor spends on sales and marketing, the company's biggest expense. Since Adams showed up in March 2007, the company has gone from a dismal $1.44 to the dollar to an almost respectable $2.22. More importantly, Sepracor hasn't been below the $2 level in the last three quarters. It's currently got the same operating efficiency as Schering-Plough had two years ago. (There's a compliment in there somewhere.)