Japan’s Astellas has posted a 52.1% increase in net income for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30 to just over 43 billion yen ($365 million) at the same as it announced a restructuring of its European operations which will result in the loss of over 200 jobs.

Sales rose 7.3% to 247.1 billion yen, driven once again by the immunosuppressant Prograf (tacrolimus), which was up 19.8% to 49.2 billion yen, while Harnal (tamsulosin) for benign prostatic hyperplasia, sold as Omnic in Europe and Flomax in the USA, increased 6.5% to 33.9 billion yen. Vesicare (solifenacin) for overactive bladder leapt 53.3% to 13.2 billion yen while the antifungal agent Funguard/Mycamine (micafungin) had sales of 4.3 billion yen, an increase of 6.1%.

Astellas also reported that sales of the cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin), which it markets in Japan in collaboration with the product's originator Pfizer, were up 6.2% to 25.1 billion yen. The company also reiterated its forecast of net income of 152 billion yen in the year ending March 31, 2008, on sales of 968 billion yen.

As for the restructuring, the Japanese company said it plans to close a development site in Munich, Germany, and consolidate operations with its plant in Leiderdorp, the Netherlands, and its sales force in Germany is to be reduced in response to the “stringent healthcare cost containment measures that have been implemented by the German government”. Astellas added that there will be “some integration of other support staff functions” in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany to just the first two countries.

The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2007 (next March), and the firm added that it will record losses of 12 billion yen related to the plant closure and integration. 5.4 billion yen of that total has already been accounted for and Astellas will take a charge of more than 6 billion yen which will be included in this year’s accounts.