Nycomed has posted a 1.8% dip in turnover for 2010 to 3.17 billion euros, a reasonable result given the effects of generic competition to its gastrointestinal drug pantoprazole.__

The Swiss privately-held drugmaker’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 850.5 million euros, down 20.9%. Pantoprazole sales fell 27.8% to 908.0 million euros, due principally to the loss of its patent in key European markets, Australia and Switzerland.

Sales of the drug in the USA, where it is sold as Protonix by partner Pfizer, are also falling as a result of 'at risk' launches by Teva and Sun in 2007; US exclusivity did not expire until last month. A lengthy legal battle is ongoing but recent judgments have sided with Nycomed which could pocket damages of up to $2 billion, some analysts have argued.

Much of Nycomed's future success is dependent on its recently-launched chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment Daxas (roflumilast). The drug, which hit the market in Denmark, Germany and the UK in September and is now available in several other European Union countries, brought in 3.8 million euros and earlier this week partner Forest Laboratories bagged US approval for the treatment, which will be sold as Daliresp.

Chief executive Hakan Bjorklund noted that a number of other products performed well, particularly from the bovine blood derivative Actovegin,  the haemostatic agent TachoSil (ibrinogen/thrombin), the nasal spray Instanyl (fentanyl) for breakthrough cancer pain and Alvesco (ciclesonide) for asthma. He is particularly pleased with the Zurich-headquartered group's performance in emerging markets where it showed above industry average growth in 2010.

Mr Bjorklund noted that Russia/CIS is Nycomed's largest market and Brazil has moved into second. Emerging markets accounted for 39% of turnover in 2010 and by 2015, "we expect them to make up around 60% of our sales".

He concluded by saying that 2011 results will be impacted by "continuing strong marketing and sales efforts around launches of Daxas and focus on our operations in the emerging markets".