Nycomed, which is now ensconced in its new headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, has posted a strong set of results for the first nine months of the year, boosted by the contribution of Altana Pharma which it acquired last December for 4.22 billion euros.

Turnover increased 4.9% to 873.5 million euros, driven by an 11.4% increase in sales of the gastrointestinal drug pantoprazole. Nycomed’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 940.8 million euros, an increase of 29.4% over the same period in 2006, helped by reduced expenses, “more efficient cost control as well as the fast and largely completed integration of Altana”, the company added.

Back to the products and pantoprazole sold well in the USA and Germany but parallel imports hit sales from the UK and the Netherlands. Geographically, some of the Scandinavian markets, except Norway, were under significant pressure from generic competition, the privately-owned company said, while Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Africa all performed well.

However as patent expiries on pantaprazole start to hurt, Nycomed is looking at other products to come up with the goods. Preotact (parathyroid hormone) for osteoporosis sold well, as did Alvesco (ciclesonide), an inhaled steroid for asthma, and the company has high hopes for Circadin, a prolonged release melatonin for the short-term treatment of primary insomnia. The drug, which is in-licensed from Israel’s Neurim Pharmaceuticals, has been recently launched in Denmark, Finland and the Baltic countries.

More recently, Nycomed acquired a licence from NPS Pharmaceuticals to develop and market Gattex (teduglutide) for markets outside the USA, Mexico and Canada, though NPS recently noted that the promising short bowel syndrome candidate failed to meet its primary goal in a Phase III study. A more immediate source of income will be Bradley Pharmaceuticals, which Nycomed is acquiring for $346 million, a deal which will see the firm expand its presence in the dermatology sector.

Nycomed chief executive Hakan Bjorklund said the company is “clearly seeing the advantages of our new and bigger organisation after the integration”, adding that “the introduction of products to our expanded geographic reach is making progress”. In terms of a forecast for the full year, Nycomed expects low single-digit turnover growth but an increase in adjusted EBITDA of around 30% compared to 2006.