Dutch biotechnology company Crucell has posted a second-quarter operating profit of 3.2 million euros, up from a 9.0 million euro loss in the like, year-earlier period, while revenues climbed 32% to 78.7 million euros.

The company noted that income tax charges and currency effects resulted in a net loss of 1.8 million euros, but still a significant improvement on the second quarter in 2008, where losses were 7.4 million euros. Sales growth was driven by paediatric vaccines, notably its five-shots-in-one product Quinvaxem vaccine (for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b).

However revenues from Quinvaxem disappointed some observers as some shipments were phased into the second half of the year, following storage and refrigeration problems in some countries. Chief executive Ronald Brus said that the vaccine is “well-positioned for the award of new tenders” for 2010-2012, the first tranche of which is expected to be announced soon.

Travel vaccines, notably its aluminium-free hepatitis A jab Epaxal, showed good growth. However sales in this division are expected to slip in the third quarter, “as reduced travel, particularly in the Nordic region, is anticipated”, Crucell said.

The company added that construction of its new 50 million euro vaccine manufacturing facility in Korea, which started in December 2008, is progressing well and first test runs are planned for the first half of 2010. Crucell added that it is targeting savings of 30 million euros by the end of 2009 through “improved yields, marketing and sales efficiency gain and savings in overhead”.

The Leiden-headquartered firm concluded by saying that it has signed two non-exclusive deals for its PER.C6 gene technology, one with Japan's Momotaro-Gene and Patrys of Australia. No financial details were disclosed.