Switzerland-based Nycomed has posted a 0.9% rise (or 3.2% in local currencies) in turnover for the third quarter to 820.0 million euros, a reasonable result given the effects of generic competition to its gastrointestinal drug pantoprazole.

The turnover rise was, however, boosted by a $100.0 million payment received from Forest Laboratories for the US rights to Daxas (roflumilast), a once-daily oral treatment for patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The drug was filed with the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year.

Nycomed’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 285.3 million euros, down 3.1%. Pantoprazole sales fell 15.7% to 272.8 million euros, given the loss of its substance patent in the major European markets in May (where sales fell 11.7%).

Nycomed is pleased with those figures though, saying that “this robust post-expiry performance is due to the adoption of tailored strategic approaches in each country”. The firm says that sales in Italy benefited from an early price reduction, while in Belgium and Germany, “varieties to compete on price with generic proton pump inhibitors were introduced successfully”.

Nycomed added that it remains “confident in its ability to generate sustained long-term turnover from pantoprazole” but noted that next year, further price erosion is expected, most notably in Germany. The Zurich-headquartered firm added that its specialty products were up 7.5% to 136.0 million euros, driven by the haemostatic agent TachoSil (ibrinogen/thrombin).

Chief executive Hakan Bjorklund has high hopes for Daxas (roflumilast), positive Phase III trial results for which were presented at the last European Respiratory Society meeting in Vienna. That data “reinforce our confidence in the drug's strong commercial prospects”, he added.

He also noted that its first-in-class nasal spray Instanyl (fentanyl) for breakthrough cancer pain was recently approved in Europe and launched in its first markets. Initial uptake has been very positive, Mr Bjorklund said, noting that Nycomed has also strengthened its position “in the faster growing markets of central and eastern Europe with the acquisition of a portfolio of 20 branded generic products from Sanofi-Aventis and its Zentiva unit.