Acino has released its full-year 2008 sales results which show that the Swiss firm 's generic version of Sanofi-Aventis/Bristol-Myers Squibb’s bloodthinner blockbuster Plavix has already made major in-roads into the German market.

Acino, which was formerly known as Schweizerhall, said its version of clopidogrel helped drive revenues up 28% (or 32% on a currency adjusted basis) to 231.8 million Swiss francs. The firm added that already by the fourth quarter, only a few months after launch by partners Ratiopharm and Hexal, its Plavix copy had captured a share of the market of about one quarter, according to IMS data.

Acino was given the green light from the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM, the country’s regulatory authority) to launch clopidogrel in May. Sanofi and B-MS tried a couple of times to get court s in the country to get a temporary suspension against approval but those efforts came to nought.

As for the rest of its business, Acino said that “the pronounced weakening of the euro against the Swiss franc, as well as a noticeable reduction of inventories by some important customers“ (triggered by uncertainties in Germany about contracts and the financial climate), adversely affected the fourth quarter results. However, it still expects to announce “a marked increase in 2008 net profit” and a substantially enhanced cash flow compared to the previous year.

The Basel-based firm added that based on the current order intake, sales in the first quarter can be expected to “significantly surpass net revenues” of the like, year-earlier quarter.