Switzerland-based Nycomed has posted a 4.9% rise in second-quarter profits despite the effects of generic competition to its gastrointestinal drug Protonix in the USA.

Nycomed’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 653.7 million euros, helped by cost-cutting from last year’s restructuring, while turnover declined 3.4% to 1.71 billion euros due at-risk launches of generic Protonix (pantoprazole) across the Atlantic. Excluding that factor, and the loss of the imaging business from Bracco, revenues would have been up 3.1%.

At the end of January, Nycomed and partner Wyeth launched their own version of Protonix and while it has had some success, sales of the latter “have not, and cannot, offset the substantial harm caused by the launch of infringing generics”, the Zurich-headquartered company said. The firms are convinced of the validity and enforceability of their patent and will continue to seek damages against Teva and Sun Pharma.

However chief executive Hakan Bjorklund noted that pantoprazole is still selling well in most countries in Europe. Other products such as Preotact (parathyroid hormone) for osteoporosis, Alvesco (ciclesonide), an inhaled steroid for asthma, Matrifen (fentanyl patch), a treatment for severe chronic opioid-sensitive pain and the haemostatic agent TachoSil (ibrinogen/thrombin) are also performing well.

Mr Bjorklund said that the quarter had been “very satisfactory”, and highlighted the in-licensing agreement with Immunomedics on veltuzumab, which will initially be developed for rheumatoid arthritis. The drug offers “an excellent strategic fit with Nycomed’s other programmes in the field of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases”, he added.

The CEO also noted that the firm has successfully divested its oncology portfolio by transferring it to Bayer Schering Pharma and Germany’s 4SC, while at the end of June, Nycomed Canada announced a licensing agreement with Italy’s Chiesi to market the latter’s Atimos (formoterol) for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.