First half 2020: Fight against COVID-19 pandemic shapes global business activities of Boehringer Ingelheim

First half 2020: Fight against COVID-19 pandemic shapes global business activities of Boehringer Ingelheim

  • Company engaged in various initiatives to contain and cope with the global spread of COVID-19
  • Protection of employees and safeguarding of worldwide pharmaceutical supply priorities
  • Net sales growth under difficult market conditions – company expects market volatility to remain intense

In the first half of 2020, Boehringer Ingelheim has taken comprehensive measures to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its employees, patients and society and adopted measures to safeguard their employees’ well-being and health. 

“As families have lost loved ones and millions of people have suffered, the COVID-19 pandemic has and is still causing a great deal of pain to many. The economic and consequently societal impact this pandemic has had is unprecedented. Within our company, we have pulled together the people, the science and the knowledge we believe can contribute to finding a solution. As industry, academia, NGOs and governments have moved swiftly and in an aligned manner, we are convinced that a solution will be found for the benefit of all,” said Hubertus von Baumbach, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors.  

Part of the global R&D efforts to overcome COVID-19
Boehringer Ingelheim has continuously stepped up its R&D efforts for the collective fight against COVID-19. The company is developing new drugs specifically designed to combat SARS-CoV-2, focusing on monoclonal virus neutralizing antibodies and small molecules that act directly against this virus. In addition, Boehringer Ingelheim is reviewing the clinical and preclinical pipelines with the aim of repurposing existing products and drug candidates to combat the tissue damages induced by SARS-CoV-2 as an immediate response to the disease. Boehringer Ingelheim’s in-house R&D activities dedicated to COVID-19 are complemented by high-profile collaborations, such as with the European CARE consortium supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) of the European Union and the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Many of our scientists are currently working on possible treatment options for COVID-19 together with our strong partners in academia, international institutions and others in the pharma industry. Open science and global collaboration will be vital to meeting this common challenge,” said Dr. Michel Pairet, member of the Board of Managing Directors with responsibility for the company’s Innovation Unit.

Global Support Program to mitigate the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
In order to mitigate the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boehringer Ingelheim launched its Global Support Program in April 2020. The Program is aimed at bringing more financial relief, protective materials and medicine donations to healthcare institutions and communities in need around the world. This includes financial and in-kind donations of 7 million euros for local emergency aid across the globe.

Safeguarding the continued production and supply of medicines
Another key part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s activities in the first half of 2020 was safeguarding the continued production and supply of medicines to patients. This also includes the supply of treatments to pet and livestock owners for their animals. Boehringer Ingelheim operates more than two dozen production facilities globally for its three business areas Human Pharma, Animal Health and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. Boehringer Ingelheim’s state-of-the-art production network with its strong footprint in Europe has helped the company to remain fully deliverable during the COVID-19 pandemic.    

Net sales growth in the first half of 2020
The business results of the first half year also reflect this strong commitment. Boehringer Ingelheim was able to continue the trend of 2019. The company generated net sales of 9.7 billion euros from January to June. Adjusted for currency effects, this equates to year-on-year growth of 4.4 percent (2019: 9.3 billion euros). Each of the three business areas contributed to this net sales growth. It is expected that some of this growth in the first half was driven by increased safety stock in the health care systems.

“The performance in the first half year, driven by the desire to continue delivering the products needed by patients, reflects an exceptional effort by the whole organization in this very challenging time of the pandemic,” said Michael Schmelmer, member of the Board of Managing Directors with responsibility for Finance & Group Functions. “We expect the market demand to remain very volatile in the coming months due to COVID-19. This will continue to require much attention on our part.”   

With Human Pharma, Boehringer Ingelheim’s largest business, the company achieved net sales of 7.1 billion euros in the first half of the year (2019: 6.8 billion euros). Adjusted for currency effects, this represents a year-on-year increase of 4.6 percent. The company’s diabetes portfolio with the type 2 diabetes medicine family remains one of the growth drivers in Boehringer Ingelheim’s portfolio. Thus, net sales generated by JARDIANCE® increased by a currency-adjusted 22.7 percent to 1.2 billion euros (2019: 1 billion euros). Boehringer Ingelheim markets its diabetes medicines together with Eli Lilly and Company. The other growth driver in the company’s Human Pharma portfolio is the respiratory product OFEV® approved in more than 80 countries for the treatment of people living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and in more than 40 countries for systemic sclerosis-associated ILD (SSc-ILD). OFEV® recently also obtained approval in the USA, the EU, Canada and Japan for a third indication, as the first and only treatment for people living with chronic fibrosing interstitial lung diseases with a progressive phenotype. Net sales of OFEV® rose by 41.7 percent to 975 million euros on a currency-adjusted basis (2019: 677 million euros).

In the first half of 2020, Boehringer Ingelheim generated net sales of around 2.2 billion euros in the Animal Health business area (2019: 2.1 billion euros). Adjusted for currency effects, this represents a year-on-year increase of 4.2 percent. The antiparasitic medicine NEXGARD® for dogs, the sales of which rose by 12.2 percent to 446 million euros (2019: 395 million euros) on a currency-adjusted basis, remained the best-selling product. Net sales of the swine vaccine INGELVAC CIRCOFLEX®, which were under pressure throughout 2019, due to the African swine fever outbreak in China and Southeast Asia, recovered in the first half-year by 9.9 percent on a currency-adjusted basis to 127 million euros (2019: 117 million euros). With a new disease centric approach in its innovation strategy, Boehringer Ingelheim will rebalance its Animal Health business and put more emphasis on parasiticides and therapeutics.  

Net sales of Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing were significantly higher compared to the previous year’s level, at 318 million euros (2019: 273 million euros), due to favorable phase effects. Adjusted for currency effects, this represents a year-on-year increase of 16.5 percent.  
Boehringer Ingelheim
Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is independent and family-owned. We have the freedom to pursue our long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where we can do the most good.

As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. In 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of 19 billion euros. Our significant investment of almost 3.5 billion euros in R&D drives innovation, enabling the next generation of medicines that save lives and improve quality of life. 

We realize more scientific opportunities by embracing the power of partnership and diversity of experts across the life-science community. By working together, we accelerate the delivery of the next medical breakthrough that will transform the lives of patients now, and in generations to come.

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