Bausch Health Companies Inc.

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk00: Greetings. Welcome to the Bosch Health first quarter 2023 earnings call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question and answer session will follow the formal presentation. If anyone should require operator assistance during the conference, please press star zero on your telephone keypad. Please note this conference is being recorded. I will now turn the conference over to Mark Mako, Investor Relations. You may begin.
spk01: Thank you, Holly. Good morning, and welcome to Bausch Health's first quarter 2023 earnings conference call. This is Mark Mako, Investor Relations for Bausch Health. Participating in today's call are Thomas Appio, Chief Executive Officer of Bausch Health, and Tom Vadeketh, Chief Financial Officer. Before we begin, I'd like to remind you that our presentation today contains forward-looking information. We would ask you to take a moment to read the forward-looking statements at the beginning of the slides that accompany this presentation as they contain important information. Our actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied in our forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Please refer to our SEC filings and filings with the Canadian Securities Administrators. for a list of some of the factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our expectations. We use non-GAAP financial measures to help investors understand our ongoing business performance. Non-GAAP financial measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies and should be considered along with, but not as an alternative to, measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. You will find reconciliations to our non-GAAP measures in the appendix of the slides that accompany this presentation, which are available on Bausch Health's Investor Relations website. Finally, the financial guidance in this presentation is effective as of today only. We do not undertake any obligation to update guidance. Our discussion today will focus on Bausch Health, excluding B&L. However, we will briefly comment on Bausch & Lomb's results announced yesterday. We will refer to year-over-year comparisons with the same period last year and less otherwise noted. For the benefit of those who may be listening to the replay or archived webcast, this call was held and recorded on May 4th, 2023. With that, it is my pleasure to turn the call over to our CEO, Thomas Zappio. Tom?
spk03: Thank you, Mark, and welcome to those of you joining the call this morning. It has been almost a year since I took over as CEO of Bausch Health. While our business faces challenges, we have some great franchises, and we are continuing to balance the constraints of a tough balance sheet with the need to continue to invest and grow the business and the pipeline. With the IPO of Bausch & Lomb in May last year, we assembled a seasoned, resilient executive leadership team with a track record of hard work dedication, and accountability. While we've had some bumps in the road, we have accomplished a lot in the last year, and we are hopeful and realistic for the future of our company, powering up the potential and creating a great healthcare company. The team and I have been able to focus on improving the remaining Bausch Health businesses. Firstly, through operational excellence and focused investments in key businesses that have growth opportunities such as Salix, Solta, dentistry, and international business. Starting in the back half of 2022 and continuing this year, we are increasing our investments in sales, marketing, and R&D to accelerate growth in Salix. I will touch more on this in a few minutes when we take a closer look at the performance of the business segments. Our international business consists of a branded generic business in the EMEA and Latin America, and a branded business in Canada. Taken together, this business is a profitable and growing business. To maintain sustainable long-term growth, we have to continue to bring in new products into the portfolio, as we have done historically through business development and licensing deals, which in this space are not typically capital Our neurology, dermatology, and generics business operate in a challenging space. Together, over 70% of the revenue from these businesses are from products that lost their exclusivity and are subject to generic competition, which continues to put pressure on both volumes and pricing. Our approach has been to manage these businesses for optimal profits and cash generation, We have a great platform and a talented team, and we will continue to review opportunities to add to the portfolio. Secondly, we have intensified our focus and operating rigor behind R&D and business development, which is critical to the success and health of our company. We are accelerating certain aspects of our planned R&D effort, and Tom Vatikath will discuss this shortly in his commentary on the financial performance. Let me share several pipeline developments which you can see on slide seven. For Amicillimod, the phase two trial is progressing and is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. Amicillimod is a new oral S1P receptor modulator which targets the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Turning to Rifaximin, We are focused on developing novel formulations to address unmet medical needs. We are accelerating our investments related to RED-C program, which stands for Reduction of Early Decompensation in Cirrhosis. This is a global program, and the treatment is targeted at preventing the first occurrence of hepatic encephalopathy, which we call HE, for patients with early decompensation cirrhosis. Two global phase three studies are currently underway with clinical trial sites expected to be open in more than 15 countries by the end of Q3, and the enrollment is on track. We have completed scientific advisory meetings with the Medicines Evaluations Board in the Netherlands, with Health Canada, and with plans to meet with the authorities in Japan and China later this year. In Solta, the next generation Fraxel, a fractionated laser device for skin resurfacing, is on track for FDA submission later this year, and we are excited about this device for skin rejuvenation. Clear and brilliant touch with Canada and with Europe and Canada submissions planned in 2024 and Asia Pacific in 2025. We are also working on the next generation vasoliposystem that is planned to be released in late 2024 and on future features for Thermage FLX as well as additional security measures to prevent the use of counterfeit tips. In dermatology, adding to our established acne portfolio, the FDA has accepted our new drug application for IDP126 with an October 20th, 2023 PDUFA date. If approved by the FDA, IDP-126 would be a first-in-class triple combination treatment for acne vulgaris. Additionally, our submission in Canada is planned for the second quarter of this year. We are actively looking for business development opportunities for our U.S. and international businesses that will synergize with our current capabilities and also looking at new therapeutic areas. We are proud of our R&D team and the work they have done to progress our pipeline and we will continue to focus on obtaining approvals for these products. Now let me turn to the first quarter. Turning to slide eight, I am pleased with the first quarter of the year. We delivered a solid performance in line with our expectations. Total reported revenues declined by 2%, and organic revenues were flat compared with the prior quarter for Bausch Health, excluding B&L. I am pleased to share that for three out of our four business segments, Salix, International, and Solta, grew versus last year on both a reported and organic basis. Let's take a closer look at the first quarter performance of our business segments as shown on slide nine. Starting with Salix, which posted reported and organic revenue growth of 7% in the first quarter with increased demand and encouraging ZyFaction script growth across all channels. We are very pleased with the performance of the Salix business in this quarter. Xifaxin is a fantastic option for healthcare providers for their patients, and we have increased our marketing investments in Xifaxin for both of our approved indication, IBSD, and HE. The increased investments in targeted consumer activation is currently being deployed across a range of media channels, such as connected and addressable TV, as well as many digital and social platforms. As a result, we are seeing very encouraging signs of increased consumer engagement. In addition, we have also expanded our institutional sales footprint by 40%. The increased sales force allows us to engage with new integrated delivery networks, their associated hospitals and clinics, and to continue to educate new healthcare providers on the importance of initiating therapy for AT patients to reduce the risk of reoccurrence and rehospitalization. We expect these efforts will help drive future growth. We are implementing AI-enabled solutions to improve our commercial engagement. These solutions leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to help our commercial teams optimize their interactions with physicians and direct efforts to the right opportunities at the right time. AI has the potential to significantly improve how we interact with our customers and meaningful expand the number of patients getting on the right treatments. As part of our continued investment to improve HE and IBSD patient care, we are implementing an advanced analytical driven medical approach. This approach leverages multichannel medical engagement, including a meaningful expansion of our specialized medical field team to prove care for thousands of HE and IBSD patients. It will help us educate physicians to address the largest patient care gaps and track the positive impact on patient lives over time. Turning to international, sales grew 5% on an organic basis and 1% on a reported basis with organic growth in all three regions. Key markets such as Poland and Canada saw a double-digit growth for the period. In Europe, our sales and marketing teams are driving growth through HCP education and enhanced digital engagements. And in Canada, we are driving growth of our promoter brands while focusing on the launch of Realtris. Solta grew organically by 6% in the quarter, with strong customer demand in Asia-Pacific markets, excluding China. We are cautiously optimistic for the remainder of the year for return to growth in China following the lifted of the COVID restrictions. In the US, we are focusing on growth drivers, which will include expanding DTC campaigns and building top and sales marketing teams. As I said before, Solta is a great business for BHC. With our global footprint and our product mix between capital equipment and consumables, More than 70% of SALTA's revenues are from consumables, which gives us together a good platform for future growth. Turning to dentistry, which is part of our diversified segment, we delivered 4% organic growth for the quarter. We have refocused our commercial effort on our core product, Arrestin, an antibiotic used in the combination with scaling and root planing procedures to treat patients with adult periodontists. The periodontal treatment market is expected to reach $12.2 billion by 2031, up $7.6 billion in 2021. With this market, we are driving demand with the private practice dentist segment, which is the largest portion of the market, and the corporate DSO dentist, which is the fastest growing segment. In diversified, sales for this segment decreased by 21% on an organic and reported basis in the quarter with declines in neurology, dermatology, and generics. We are striving to stabilize the business in our promoted and non-promoted products within this segment. This year, we intend to make additional investments in the marketing and advertising of Aplenzen and expand our consumer awareness campaign for Jublia, which both saw increased scripts. Again, I am pleased with the performance in the first quarter, which was in line with our expectations. We are reiterating our guidance for Bausch Health, excluding B&L for this year, and as always, remain committed to delivering long-term value for stakeholders. Let me take a few minutes to talk about some key priorities. The process of delivering our balance sheet is ongoing, and in the first quarter of 2023 for Bausch Health, excluding B&L, we reduced our debt by approximately $100 million, including revolver repayments. We have made significant progress in delivering our balance sheet over the past year, reducing debt since the B&L IPO by $3.3 billion, and we will continue to effectively manage and enhance our capital structure. With regard to the Granite Trust, as you know, we've reached a tentative settlement with the IRS during the first quarter, and we expect final resolution of this matter later this year. Regarding the ZIFACs and proceedings, as a reminder, the court's current decision prevents Norwich's ANDA from receiving final FDA approval until October 2029. Norwich advised the court that has sought to remove the HE indication from its ANDA and has filed a motion to modify the judgment to permit the FDA to approve their ANDA before 2029. We have opposed this motion and await decision from the court. Lastly, we continue to believe the separation of Bausch and Lomb makes strategic sense with the end goal of having two independent, strong, financially stable companies. With that, I will turn the call over to Tom Vatikath, who will provide further details on our quarter performance. Tom.
spk07: Thanks, Tom. Hello, everyone, and thanks for joining us. My comments today will refer to organic growth and adjusted results. We closed the quarter with consolidated first quarter revenues for Bosch Health of $1.9 billion, up 4% on an organic basis over the same quarter last year. First quarter revenues for Bosch Health, excluding B&L, were $1 billion and flat on an organic basis, with growth in our Salix, International, and Solta businesses. Let me discuss each segment in greater detail, as shown on slide 11. First quarter Salix revenues increased 7% to $496 million, This increase was largely due to higher demand for Syphaxin 550, Trulance, and Relistor, coupled with relatively favorable changes in channel inventory this quarter for Syphaxin 550 and Trulance in comparison with the channel inventory changes in the prior year. Syphaxin revenue grew 7% in the quarter, and overall demand grew 4%. In the first quarter, we continued to see an uptick in non-retail demand at institutions such as hospitals and outpatient clinics, increasing our market share. We also saw a slight increase in demand from long-term care facilities, but we believe the shift in the HE patient journey post-COVID, with patients going directly home from the hospital rather than to a long-term care or step-down facility, is ongoing. and we are keeping a close eye on this trend. As Tom said, we've increased our investments in Salix during the quarter, and we plan to invest further in the remainder of 2023. We're also pleased with the sales performance of Relastor and Trulance, which posted increases of 29% and 19%, driven by total script growth of 22% and 10%, respectively, in the first quarter versus the prior year. International revenues were $247 million, an increase of 5% on an organic basis during the first quarter, led by strong growth in Canada and Poland of 11% and 15% respectively. We also saw double-digit growth in a number of key brands. Solta medical revenues of $73 million increased 6% on an organic basis in the first quarter. Our Asia-Pacific business grew 7%, with strong demand despite a sales decline in China due to the effects of COVID-related government restrictions in the early part of the first quarter, immediately following the opening up of the market from COVID. Excluding China, the region grew 35%. In the U.S., sales were slightly down, driven by lower volumes. We are continuing the expansion of our DTC campaign in the U.S. and the expansion of sales teams in Europe. Diversified revenues were $197 million, down 21% on an organic basis in the first quarter. For neurology, lowered sales were mainly driven by lowered demand for Welbutrin, as well as net pricing pressure on Aplenzin, although Aplenzin's script growth remained positive at 4%. In dermatology, Jublia sales were impacted in part by a shift in patient coverage mix, which reduced net pricing, the effect of which is higher in Q1 as patient deductibles reset at the beginning of the year. Jublia Scripps grew 17%. These decreases were partially offset by our dentistry product, Arrestin, which had sales growth of 5% in the quarter. We continue to expect challenging market conditions in the neurology, dermatology, and generic businesses for the balance of the year and remain focused on stabilizing this part of our portfolio. Lastly, on slide 12, Bosch and Lomb revenues were $931 million, up 8% on an organic basis in the first quarter, with strong organic growth across all B&L segments. Turning to the P&L for the quarter on slide 15, I'll first refer to results on a consolidated basis and also provide some additional color for the performance of Bosch Health excluding P&L. The first quarter consolidated adjusted gross margin was 70.1%, 120 basis points lower compared with the prior year. At Bosch Health excluding P&L, the adjusted gross margin for the first quarter was approximately 79.3%. 90 basis points lower than last year. The decrease was mainly driven by favorable net pricing adjustments in the prior year. On the B&L side, the unfavorable change in gross margin was mainly driven by higher costs of inventory, product mix, and pockets of supply challenges. Consolidated adjusted operating expenses for the first quarter were $834 million, an increase of $129 million, or 18%, with higher SG&A and R&D expenses. For Bosch Health, excluding B&L, operating expenses increased by approximately $76 million, while B&L reported an increase of $53 million in operating expenses. Selling and marketing increased for Bosch Health, excluding B&L, due to the investments we are making in the SALIC sales force, go-to-market channels, and increased advertising and promotional activity. The increase in consolidated adjusted G&A costs reflects the impact of the separation and the costs to stand up to public companies. Adjusted G&A for Bosch Health excluding B&L increased by $29 million, driven by the favorable impact in the prior year of a settlement we received relating to a contractual dispute and TSA fees received from B&L in Q1 2022. We're in the process of separating B&L's IT infrastructure from the rest of the company and continue to make significant progress reducing our reliance on transition services. Also of note, in our pharma business, we successfully migrated our U.S. and Ireland operations to a new enterprise resource planning or ERP platform, meaning that all major markets are on dedicated systems. Consolidated R&D expense increased 13% and represented 7% of net sales, flat compared with the first quarter of last year. For Bosch Health, excluding B&L, R&D expenses increased by approximately $16 million, primarily for Salix due to the focus on our clinical programs and regulatory activities to support our mid- and late-stage product development. First quarter consolidated adjusted EBITDA was $605 million, which includes $17 million of adjusted EBITDA attributable to the BNL minority interest. This was a decrease of 18% versus last year. For Bosch Health, excluding BNL, adjusted EBITDA was $462 million, a decrease of 18% from last year, reflecting the factors previously described. On a consolidated basis, the first quarter adjusted EBITDA margin was 30.2% compared with 38.2% last year. Adjusted EBITDA margin for Bosch Health excluding BNL was 46% and for Bosch and Lomb was 15%. Let me briefly touch on the gap interest expense we are reporting in the quarter. The accounting required for the debt exchange last year significantly impacted our gap interest expense. lowering it by $74 million this quarter. As you may recall, a substantial portion of the interest on the newly issued debt has been recorded on the balance sheet as a premium, which will be reduced as interest payments are made. Contractual interest costs for the quarter, based on principal balances, was approximately $381 million on a consolidated basis and $330 million for Bosch Health, excluding B&L. Turning to cash flow, adjusted cash flow from operations on a consolidated basis in the first quarter was $70 million versus $325 million last year. For Bosch Health, excluding B&L, the adjusted cash flow from operations was $94 million, which was in line with our expectations. Adjusted cash flow includes adjustments for the payment of separation costs, business transformation costs, and also includes payments of the full contractual interest. This quarter's cash flow was affected by the unfavorable timing of certain working capital movements, as well as higher interest payments due to the lumpiness of interest coupon payments. Now let's turn to our balance sheet on slide 16. As Tom mentioned earlier, the process of delevering our balance sheet is ongoing. And in the first quarter of 2023, we reduced our debt for Bosch Health, excluding BNL, by $105 million, including revolver repayments. As slides 17 and 18 show, total debt for Bosch Health, excluding Bosch and Lomb, at the end of the quarter was $16.5 billion, which consisted of $15.5 billion of restricted debt issued by Bosch Health, excluding BNL, and $1 billion of senior secured notes issued by the unrestricted subsidiary created in the third quarter of last year. Excluding B&L debt, approximately 85% of our debt is fixed. Approximately 70% of the company's debt on a consolidated basis is fixed. Our 2023 guidance for Bosch Health excluding B&L is unchanged and can be viewed on slide 20. For Bosch Health excluding BNL, we continue to expect revenues in the range of $4.45 to $4.6 billion, representing growth of 2% to 5% on an organic basis. Full-year adjusted EBITDA for Bosch Health excluding BNL is still expected to be $2.3 to $2.4 billion. As a reminder, our EBITDA expectations reflect increased investments versus last year. We continue to invest in sales and marketing activities to drive growth in our key brands in our Salix, International, and Salta medical segments. These investments include expanding our Salix institutional sales force footprint, the first DTC marketing campaign for HE, and exciting campaigns as we launch products like Realtris and Euceris in Canada. We expect to see the benefit of this spending later in 2023 and into 2024. As Tom mentioned earlier, we are pleased with the progress we are making on our product pipeline, and our EBITDA expectations also reflect increased R&D spending to maintain this progress through the rest of the year. The performance for Bosch Health, excluding BNL, in the first quarter was in line with our expectations. As I mentioned in our call last quarter, the first quarter of the year is typically weaker than the subsequent three quarters due to the annual resetting of health insurance deductibles in the United States, which impacts the patient out-of-pocket cost. While we don't provide guidance by quarter, our expectations are for stronger growth in quarters two through four relative to the first quarter. when we also anticipate the benefits from our sales and marketing investments will start to materialize. Moving below EBITDA, our full-year effective non-GAAP tax rate is expected to be approximately 15%. We expect our contractual interest costs to remain unchanged at approximately $1.3 billion. Lastly, we continue to expect Posh Health, excluding B&L, to generate approximately $625 million in adjusted operating cash flow. As I said earlier, adjusted cash flow includes adjustments for the payment of separation costs, the payment of the full contractual interest, and also includes estimated cash tax payments, inclusive of the tentative Granite Trust settlement. I'll now hand the call back to Tom.
spk03: Thank you, Tom. In summary, we are building on the momentum from the second half of 2022 as we continue to focus on our core businesses driving growth through operational excellence and our new high-performance results-oriented culture. We will make investments in key businesses that have growth opportunities such as Salix, Solta, Dentistry, and the international business. We continue to invest in our R&D pipeline, including our global development programs for Red Sea, as well as the continued development of Amasilamad. Our mid and late stage R&D pipeline is active and exciting, and we are looking forward to sharing more details. When I took over as CEO, I told you I wanted to create a fit-for-purpose company, and we will continue on that journey, looking to simplify our business, invest wisely, and grow profitably. We will also improve our capital structure and have already made significant progress in delivering the balance sheet. Together with this gives us the ability to better focus and invest in our core business. I want to thank the global Bausch Health team for all their resilience and motivation working each day to build our special company, driving performance through hard work and accountability, powering up our potential, elevating people's lives each and every day that use our great products. On behalf of the entire BHC team, I thank you all today for your interest in and support of Vouch Health. With that, we will now take questions. Operator, please open the line for Q&A.
spk00: Certainly. At this time, we will be conducting a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star 1 on your telephone keypad. A confirmation tone will indicate your line is in the question queue. You may press star 2 if you would like to remove your question from the queue. For participants using speaker equipment, it may be necessary to pick up your handset before pressing the star keys. One moment while we poll for questions. Your first question for today is coming from Glenn Santangelo at Jefferies.
spk02: Oh, yeah. Thanks, and good morning. Thanks for taking the question. Hey, Tom, I just wanted to follow up on your comments regarding the separation of Bausch and Lomb. You seem to suggest it still makes sense. Could you maybe, you know, give us a sense for what are the big hurdles that you need to climb over in order to be able to execute the spin and You know, in particular, there's been a lot of questions around the Zyfax and litigation, if that's sort of a gating factor, you know, to ultimately get a solvency opinion, which will pave the way for the spin. So if you could just let us know, like, what pieces need to be in place, given that the leverage seems to already be in the acceptable range?
spk03: Sure, Glenn. Thanks for the question. As you know, we continue to evaluate potential options to maximize stakeholder value. As I said in my prepared remarks, we believe the separation of Bausch and Long makes strategic sense and we remain focused on creating two strong companies. What I would say is also we are evaluating all the relevant factors and considerations regarding you know, the distribution, you know, as we assess the potential impacts of Norwich, you know, in terms of the Zyfax and litigation. So, you know, what I would say is there's many things to look at. We're looking at, you know, each and, you know, all the alternatives that we can, as we look at some of the things that need to come together for us. But what I would say is, I turn it over to Tom, you know, when we just kind of talk about you know, what some of the things that we still need to do.
spk07: Yeah, thanks, Tom. Yeah, I think, you know, I don't know if I have much to add. We have committed to creating two financially strong, viable companies. We continue to work on the balance sheet on the BHC side. Both management teams you heard yesterday from Brent and Sam, and today you heard from Tom and I, we are focused on driving these businesses, improving performance, growing revenue. And we have not given a timeframe, as you know, Glenn, and that remains the case. We're not gonna put a forecast out there, but at the right time, we will separate both teams and both boards believe that the right thing to do is to separate. It'll allow the two management teams to focus on kind of pure play companies. and so we'll move towards that goal.
spk03: Go ahead, Tom, sorry. We are continuing to carefully and thoughtfully evaluate all such strategies, and we'll proceed with evaluating these strategies in the best interest of all stakeholders.
spk02: Okay, thanks. Tom, maybe if I could just ask a quick follow-up question. A lot of focus on the 1Q EBITDA sort of coming in a little bit lower than expected, and And in your comments, you sort of mentioned that 1Q is typically weaker because of the reset of the deductibles. If you look the past couple years, right, EBITDA also stepped down in the second quarter. And so in your remarks, you seem to suggest that this should be the low point of the year. But, you know, sort of given your guidance, it looks like the ramp is pretty steep in the back half of the year as a result of that. I'm just curious if there's anything else that I'm missing. Thanks.
spk07: Yeah, we reiterated our guidance, Glenn, as you noted, and feel pretty good about it. Q1 is typically lower on the top line. I'll mention a couple of things. Last year, we had a number of net pricing adjustments, you know, so basically not the pricing that we were taking in the market, but net pricing adjustments. in the gross to net area that perhaps, you know, sort of exaggerates the year-on-year performance delta. And then in addition to that, we are making investments, as you noted, in the first quarter that we didn't have last year as we were lapping a quarter with pretty low investments. So we feel pretty good. We think these investments will drive the growth that we're expecting in quarters two through four. And, yeah, I don't want to give you specific guidance per quarter, but we obviously do expect an uplifting of performance in order to get back to revenue going up 2% to 5% and EBITDA growing 2% year on year.
spk02: Okay, thanks for the comments.
spk03: Okay, operator, next question.
spk00: Your next question for today is coming from Douglas Meem at RBC Capital Markets.
spk05: Thank you. Tom, what I'd like to start off with is just some facts. After last year of flat prescriptions, we're starting to see some growth. Perhaps you can tell us what's working there and if you think there's going to be an acceleration in the year-over-year growth that you're seeing or is a 2% growth figure the one to use on the drug.
spk03: Okay, Doug, thanks. So clearly we are really happy about the performance of our Salix business and Xifax in growth. As I said in my prepared remarks, 7% growth in the quarter, overall demand increase of 4%, increases you know, in non-retail demand at institutions going hospitals and outpatient clinics. So really all good signs. Encouraging, you know, Xifax and Scrip growth, you know, in all the channels. So this is really something that we have been looking at and following very closely. What I would say is, as I said, and I had, you know, lengthy in my prepared remarks of all the things that we are doing in the Salix franchise and Xifax, and, you know, we are investing in our fuel force. As I talked about artificial intelligence and the machine learning, we think we can really accelerate as we launch that project. I talked about the institutional sales increase. That is going to have a nice benefit for us. And clearly, the investments we're making in our medical affairs team, we think there is a large unmet need. You know, Xifaxin is a great product in two indications for IBSD and HE, and we think there is a great unmet need. And with the investments that we're making in our medical team, to go out and talk to doctors and educate them on these diseases will really provide great care to patients for the future. So we are really looking forward as we launch these programs. We started some of it in the back half of last year. and really the ramp up as that's why you see, especially on the SG&A line, the investments that are going in there. So we really think that we will have a really good opportunity to continue to grow this franchise, and we're really excited about it.
spk05: Okay, good. And just related to that, of course, I think everyone's curious about The timing of the court's decision as it relates to the skinny label. Do you have any better information on that? I know at one point you were thinking it could be back in Q4 and that obviously changed, but is everyone still thinking it could come this quarter or do you have some revised information?
spk03: You know, as I said in my prepared remarks, you know, we're still waiting a court's decision on the motion, and I don't have anything, no changes or, you know, or updates at this time, other than what I had in my prepared remarks. Okay. Perfect. Operator, next question.
spk00: Your next question is coming from David Amselem at Piper Sandler.
spk04: Hey, thanks. So I wanted to ask about a longer-term picture and solvency. And that's, I guess, in the context of a lot of maturities in the later part of the decade and the fact that we're in our competition for Zipfax in 2028 and beyond. I just wanted to take your brain on how you think about solvency and ultimately how you can get the capital structure to a more stable place. Thank you. Yeah, David.
spk07: Let me take that. It's on Vatican here, David. Obviously, I'm sure you don't expect us to provide long-term projections here. We would not talk about any year past this year. But I would just maybe comment on it in a couple of ways. One, Tom has reiterated today that when we are thinking about separating the companies, one of our focus areas is to create two strong, financially viable companies. And we would not separate unless we believe that that was the case. So hopefully that speaks for itself. You've seen us in action for about a year. on both sides with both companies. We've improved operating performance. We're making investments in growth that will go towards assuring the long-term viability of the company. And we have been fairly agile, I would say, in dealing with our balance sheet. We have reduced debt since the IPO for this company by $3.3 billion. And so we're going to continue to work on all of those fronts and keep improving the prospects of this company. I mean, that's why Tom and I are here, and we're excited for the future.
spk04: If I may speak in a final thought, I guess maybe drilling down, I mean, how do you address debt pay down when you've got $4.5 billion due in 27 and $5 billion due in 28, and your biggest selling drug is going to lose excessivity?
spk07: Yeah, I mean, I can't comment on details. Of course, the company is highly cash generative as we go forward. And then, as you know, and this applies to all companies, you know, you don't expect to pay every single dollar of your debt down. You will at some point refinance. What we have to make sure is that, you know, our company has the right financial position at the time and then also, you know, we look at the future prospects of the company, we look at the pipeline that we're investing heavily in, and we're investing in future growth, and that will all go into the mix when the time comes to deal with those maturities.
spk03: Yeah, David, just to add to that, that's why in my prepared remarks I went through the R&D pipeline. As I said, we are excited about it. We're We're looking forward to getting more data as things come through, but we have some really interesting projects ongoing in R&D that will help us for our long-term growth. Operator, next question.
spk00: Your next question for today is coming from Jason Gerberry at Bank of America.
spk06: Hey, good morning, guys. This is Chi for Jason. Thanks for taking our questions. So thank you for providing an update on the current litigation matters. You've discussed the grant I trust. You've discussed the Rule 60 motions. I didn't hear anything about the recent proceedings in fraudulent transfer in New Jersey. Can you talk about what's the implications there in that case update, and how does that impact the timeline for company separation? And I'll follow up after that. Thank you.
spk03: Okay, Chi, I'll take that question. So, you know, we are pleased that the significant portion of the claims were dismissed at this early stage. So that's firstly. Second, you know, we remain confident in our position in this litigation with respect to the remaining allegations. You know, beyond this, you know, we do not intend to comment on any ongoing litigation at this time. All right. At the end, we want to, again, reemphasize to two strong companies. That is our goal. You had a follow up?
spk06: Yeah, thanks. So I guess the second question is, what is your understanding of whether the fiduciary duty of the board is governed by the U.S. or Canadian law? I'm curious if it is Canada, does it mean that the duty isn't clearly to shareholders like in the case in the U.S.? And how does that factor into the separation process, if at all? Thanks.
spk03: Okay, let me see, you know, just to take a look at it. Let me see. You know, what I'd say is, you know, in terms of that, you know, we cannot, you know, we'll not provide legal, you know, advice, you know, you know, on this call. So, you know, I can't really make any comments, you know, further to that.
spk04: Okay.
spk00: Operator, next question. We have reached the end of the question and answer session, and I will now turn the call over to Tom Appio for closing remarks.
spk03: Okay. Well, what I would say is, as I said, I am really pleased with performance in the first quarter, and we are looking forward to powering up our potential and delivering long-term value for stakeholders. I would thank everybody for joining today, and we look forward to having future discussions on our company. So have a great day, and we'll talk to you soon. Thank you.
spk00: This concludes today's conference and you may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation.

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