Japanese drugmaker Astellas saw a number of key products miss their sales targets in the fiscal year ending March 2006, pegging back operating income to 193 billion yen ($1.7bn), lower than its target of 205 billion yen.

But net income soared 74%, largely because of a steep decline in extraordinary expenses compared to the prior year, which saw the creation of the company via the merger of Yamanouchi and Fujisawa. Income came in at 104 billion yen, with extraordinary costs down to 21 billion yen from 60 billion yen a year earlier. Sales came in at 879 billion yen, a 2% increase year-on-year.

Looking at the performance of its key products, Astellas said worldwide sales of its immunosuppressant Prograf (tacrolimus), indicated for the prevention of graft rejection in transplant recipients, rose 19% to 146 billion yen.

But on the downside the Protopic formulation of the drug, used to treat eczema, continued its steep decline, with sales down by a third to 14.4 billion yen on the back of last year’s warning by the US Food and Drug Administration that the drug increases the risk of cancer, along with related product Elidel (pimecrolimus) from Novartis.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia drug Harnal (tamsulosin), sold as Omnic in Europe and Flomax in the USA, managed a 1% rise to 138 billion yen for the year, although domestic revenues fell 9%. Vesicare (solifenacin) for overactive bladder

The group added that several of its other products had also achieved growth during the year. These included: tamsulosin (sold as Harnal in Japan, Flomax in the USA and Omnic in Europe), its treatment for the symptoms of benign hyperplasia, worldwide sales of which were up 1.3% to 138 billion for the year, despite a 9.2% decline in Japanese revenues and an 18% drop in European sales of the capsule formulation which was offset by the launch of the newer Omnic OCAS version.

Overactive bladder therapy Vesicare (solifenacin) contributed $15 billion yen based strong growth in both the USA and Europe, while antifungal agent Funguard/Mycamine (micafungin) rose 10.5% to 15 billion yen for the year, almost entirely from Japanese sales.

Astellas also reported that sales of the hypercholesterolemia drug Lipitor (atorvastatin), which it markets in Japan in collaboration with the product's originator Pfizer, climbed 7% to 92 billion yen, while revenues for Micardis II (telmisartan for high blood pressure surged 43% to 37 billion yen.