Actelion has posted another strong set of financials for the second quarter as sales of its pulmonary arterial hypertension blockbuster Tracleer continue to soar.

Net profit came in at 121.4 million Swiss francs (about $115.4 millon), a rise of 4.5%, while revenues climbed 18.47% to 532.2 million francs, the majority of which came from Tracleer (bosentan), The latter’s sales climbed 12% on the like, year-earlier period to 430.1 million francs.

Of Actelion’s other products, sales of Ventavis (iloprost), an inhaled therapy for the treatment of PAH, were flat at 34.2 million francs, while sales of Zavesca (miglustat), for patients with Gaucher disease for whom enzyme replacement therapy is not a therapeutic option, leapt 62% to 18.9 million francs.

In terms of pipeline, Actelion has four compounds in Phase III and the first results from one of these - clazosentan in aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage - are expected in October. Chief executive Jean-Paul Clozel added that the addition of “an improved formulation of epoprostenol to our portfolio and the rapidly progressing development of new PAH compounds, macitentan and selexipag, are all important steps toward a strong PAH franchise for years to come”.

Phase III data on macitentan, seen as a successor to Tracleer, is now due by the end of 2011, which is one year ahead of schedule. In a research note, analysts at Piper Jaffrey say that it is one of the key treatments which Actelion will use to counter generic competition to Tracleer and “if the drug is approved by early 2013, it would give the company a clear three-four years to implement a switch”.

The Allschwil-based group has raised its earnings growth target before tax for 2010 to 21%-24% in local currencies, up from a previous forecast of around 20%. However it is maintaining its sales growth target above 10% in local currencies.

May pay up to 195 million euros for Trophos
Meantime, Actelion aso announced that it has obtained, for 10 million euros, an option to acquire the French privately-held firm Trophos.

Based in Marseille/, Trophos' lead compound, olesoxime, is currently in Phase III for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The study is expected to report by the end of 2011, at which time Actelion may exercise the option for an acquisition price between 125-195 million euros in cash, “contingent on different regulatory approvals and other clinical progress of Trophos' pipeline”.

Actelion and Trophos noted that they will also “further explore the novel therapeutic approach pioneered by olesoxime”.