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Allergan looks to sell lap-band and obesity unit

Posted on 11 February 2013

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Allergan, one of the top 50 big pharma companies, is committed to selling the company’s obesity-treatment unit in the first half of 2013 after completing a review of the business.

The unit, dominated by the Lap-Band weight loss device, has been reclassified as a discontinued operation, resulting in an unspecified charge to write down assets to fair value, Irvine, California-based Allergan said in a statement today. Chief Executive Officer David Pyott said last month he wanted to sell the business by the end of the first quarter and that the unit has attracted interest, including from a private-equity company.

The obesity unit’s sales tumbled 22 percent in the fourth quarter to $36.8 million, Allergan said today. The unit’s annual revenue has plummeted from a peak of $296 million in 2009 because of questions about the risks from the Lap-Band and lawsuits stemming from surgeries that went awry. The obesity market once generated about a third of Allergan’s U.S. sales.

Overall, Allergan reported that fourth-quarter profit increased 16% to $324.2 million, or $1.06 a share, compared with $279.8 million, or 90 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter grew 8% to $1.51 billion.

Sales of Botox rose 14% in the quarter to $474.6 million. Last month, Allergan said it had agreed to acquire MAP Pharmaceuticals Inc., which develops therapies for migraine headaches, for $958 million.


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