Scotland-based speciality pharmaceuticals group ProStrakan has posted its financials for the first half of 2008 which show that revenues rose 26% while losses continue to narrow.

Revenues came in at £26.4 million, while its operating loss fell 13% to £7.6 million, excluding a £2.2 million impairment charge from the sale of its shares in Galapagos of the Netherlands. Sales growth was driven by Rectogesic (glyceryl trinitate), an ointment for chronic anal fissures, Tostran (testosterone gel) and Droperidol (xomolix) for the treatment of post-operative nausea and vomiting.

However the second half of the year should prove to be the most eventful, said chief executive Wilson Totten. A key event will be the launch across Europe of the recently-approved cancer pain drug Rapinyl, a fast-dissolving formulation of fentanyl.

The treatment was launched last week in Sweden as Abstral and will roll out in Europe over the rest of the year. Last month, ProStrakan and Swedish partner Orexo extended their existing European licensing agreement for Rapinyl to include North America and the plan is to submit a New Drug Application for the drug in 2009.

The Galashiels-based firm is now waiting to get the go-ahead from the US Food and Drug Administration for Sancuso (granisetron), a transdermal patch for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Manufacture of launch stock is now well-advanced and the recruitment of a 67-strong sales force, in collaboration with US partner, NovaQuest, is also at an advanced stage.

ProStrakan says that it expects to launch Sancuso at the end of 2008, an event which “will be the group’s most significant single development to date”. Dr Totten said that “we are well advanced against our goal of becoming a profitable international specialty pharmaceutical company,” during 2009.