Ipsen has posted a 10.9% fall in net profits for the first half of the year to 98.7 million euros, but drug sales were up 5.9% to 503.9 million euros and the French firm expects a strong set of figures for full-year 2009.

Revenue growth was driven by Decapeptyl (triptorelin pamoate) for prostate cancer, though sales only rose 0.7% to 126.5 million euros. Ipsen’s Somatuline (lanreotide) range of drugs for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumours was up 15.0% to 68.3 million euros and sales of Dysport (abobotulinumtoxin A) for wrinkles and cervical dystonia edged up 0.2% to 76.1 million euros.

That latter figure should rise considerably soon seeing as Ipsen and partner Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp got approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for Dysport in April. It will compete there with Allergan’s Botox.

Ipsen chief executive Jean-Luc Belingard said the approval of Dysport in the USA is “undoubtedly a major step forward”. He noted that although the financial results “temporarily bear some dilution”, corresponding to launches of four products in the USA, the company is doing well in “a tough macroeconomic environment”, justifying the timing of its acquisitions last year – taking control of marketing partner Tercica, plus acquiring the US subsidiary of the UK’s Vernalis and haemophilia specialist Octagen.

Mr Belingard added that those acquisitions mean that “our unique R&D pipeline has considerably grown”, notably with the entry of BIM-23A760, Somatuline’s successor, into Phase II and the imminent move into Phase III of Octagen’s recombinant porcine Factor VIII, OBI-1. Ipsen concluded by reiterating that drug sales growth for the full year should be in the region of 7%-9%, excluding the impact of currency growth.