Astellas Pharma has presented its financials for the first nine months of the fiscal year ending in March which show that earnings fell sharply as sales of Prograf suffered from generic competition.

The Japanese drugmaker says that net income fell 23.8% to 116.00 billion yen (about $1.28 billion), hit by the appreciation of the yen against the dollar and the euro, plus higher R&D costs, which were up 21.1% to 140.10 billion yen. Sales edged up 1.8% to 772.78 billion yen.

The immunosuppressant Prograf (tacrolimus) was again the biggest seller but sales of the drug were down 5.8% to 147.70 billion yen, as Novartis unit Sandoz’ copycat version became the first generic to hit the US market in August. As for Astellas’ other products, turnover from Harnal (tamsulosin) for benign prostatic hyperplasia, sold as Omnic in Europe and Flomax in the USA, increased 4.6% to 91.20 billion yen, while Vesicare (solifenacin) for overactive bladder was up 13.8% to 62.80 billion yen.

The antifungal agent Funguard/Mycamine (micafungin) had sales of 16.50 billion yen, an increase of 21.3%, while revenues from the cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin), which Astellas markets in Japan in collaboration with the product's originator Pfizer, were up 5.0% to 79.00 billion yen.

The company has maintained its full-year sales estimate of 976.00 billion yen (+1.1%) and net income is still expected to be down 26.9% on the previous year to 125.00 billion yen.