CSL reports strong profit growth with record plasma collections

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CSL has reported net profit after tax of $2.19 billion for the 12 months ended June 2023, up 8 per cent on a constant currency basis.

CEO and managing director Dr Paul McKenzie said, “Our strong performance in the 2023 financial year was delivered against a challenging operating environment. Our CSL Behring business rebounded strongly driven by exceptional growth in immunoglobulin sales and record plasma collections.

“While we have not been immune to inflation and currency headwinds, our focus on improving efficiencies across our global network of manufacturing sites has helped reduce the impact. We remained focused on executing on our strategy of delivering innovative medicines to best serve our patients and protect public health. This, combined with the efforts of our people is now delivering positive momentum for CSL and our patients in more than 100 countries.

“During the period, we successfully completed the acquisition of Vifor Pharma. Whilst CSL Vifor has only been part of CSL for a short period, the integration is well advanced and the cost synergies are well on track.

“Undoubtedly, a highlight during the period was treating the first patients with HEMGENIX, after the FDA approved the first and only gene therapy for the treatment of adults with haemophilia B earlier in the year,” said Dr McKenzie.

CSL Behring reported a 12 per cent increase in revenue to $9.290 billion. Immunoglobulin product sales rose 21 per cent to $4.675 billion, headlined by a 29 per cent increase in sales of PRIVIGEN.

The company said plasma collections were robust, with volumes up 31 per cent and now at record levels.

"Improved social mobility post-COVID, targeted marketing campaigns and enhanced digital initiatives to attract donors all contributed to this unprecedented growth," it said, adding that the cost of collecting plasma, which includes donor compensation and labour, declined by around 14 per cent over the previous year.

The significant increase in plasma supply underpins the company’s ability to manufacture plasma products and enables CSL to meet the underlying patient demand for core plasma products.

CSL Seqirus, the company's vaccine division, reported a 9 per cent increase in revenue to $2.031 billion. It said the growth was driven by seasonal influenza vaccines, particularly FLUCELVAX, which increased by 30 per cent.

"This growth was achieved against a backdrop of reduced rates of immunisation and highlights the strength of CSL Seqirus' strategy and its high-value differentiated product portfolio," said the company.

CSL also reported a 22 per cent increase in research and development expenses. It said the $1.232 billion in expenses reflected the inclusion of CSL Vifor and the progression of the pipeline.

Commenting on CSL’s outlook, Dr McKenzie said, “The strong growth in our immunoglobulins franchise is expected to continue following record plasma collections in FY23.

“We have a number of initiatives underway to improve efficiencies which include a focus on optimising plasma collection costs, improving manufacturing yields and bringing new products to market, all of which will support the medium-term recovery in CSL Behring’s gross margin.

“The launch of HEMGENIX in the US last quarter will continue to deliver this paradigm-shifting treatment to the haemophilia B community in the US and Europe in the year ahead. Our R&D pipeline includes a number of late-stage programs nearing completion which will lead to more options for patients and protecting public health.

“We anticipate that CSL Seqirus will deliver another strong year driven by demand for its differentiated products. CSL Seqirus is progressing global registrations for its next-generation mRNA COVID vaccine.

“For CSL Vifor, we are focusing on unlocking the value and growth within this newly acquired business. Supporting our medium-term outlook, we are bringing together our research and development capabilities into the one R&D organisation. We are also combining nephrology and transplant therapeutic areas and have a number of patient blood management initiatives underway that leverages the strengths of CSL Vifor and CSL Behring."

The company said it expects revenue growth of 9 to 11 per cent for the financial year 2024, with underlying profit in the range of approximately $2.9 billion to $3. billion at constant currency.