Switzerland-based Nycomed has posted just a 1.2% decline in profits for full-year 2008 despite the effects of generic competition to its gastrointestinal drug Protonix in the USA and Canada.

Nycomed’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 1.20 billion euros, helped by cost-cutting from a restructuring in 2007 triggered by the integration of Altana Pharma, Turnover declined 4.3% to 3.35 billion euros due at-risk launches of generic Protonix (pantoprazole) across the Atlantic, where the drug was sold by Wyeth. Excluding that factor, as well as well as a one-time effect of a 100.9 million payment from Sepracor relating to the licensing of ciclesonide in the USA, revenues would have been up 3.1%.

Chief executive Hakan Bjorklund said 2008 was ”a very satisfying year for Nycomed”, adding that the current economic crisis “has had only a minor effect” on the company’s performance. Looking ahead, the Zurich-headquartered group is preparing regulatory filings in Europe and the USA for Daxas (roflumilast) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Mr Bjorklund said that “we have initiated the search for a commercial partner for the USA”.

He added that “we are well prepared to manage pantoprazole as its substance patent expires in Europe,” and said it will remain Nycomed’s largest single product in the long term. Geographically, the company is doing well in Russia and Latin America and Mr Bjorklund concluded by saying “we will be strengthening our position in Asia in the coming years”.