Astellas Pharma has posted a strong set of financials, but fellow Japanese drugmakers Daiichi Sankyo and Eisai have suffered profit declines.

First up, Astellas has posted financials for the six months ended September 30 which show that net income rose 17.0% to 51.33 billion yen, about $657.2 million, due in part to lower R&D costs. Sales were up 4.8% to 483.93 billion yen.

Sales of the immunosuppressant Prograf (tacrolimus) were down 1.7% to 79.90 billion yen, hurt by generic competition in the USA, while Harnal (tamsulosin) for benign prostatic hyperplasia, sold as Omnic in Europe and Flomax in the USA, fell 4.5% to 31.90 billion yen, also as a result of the loss of patent protection.

More impressive was the performance of Vesicare (solifenacin) for overactive bladder, which was up 15.2% to 48.00 billion yen, while the antifungal agent Funguard/Mycamine (micafungin) had sales of 12.80 billion yen, an increase of 4.8%. Revenues from the cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin), which Astellas markets in Japan in collaboration with the product's originator Pfizer, were down 1.2% to 47.40 billion yen.

For the full year, the Tokyo-based firm says it now expects net profit of 85 billion yen, up from an earlier forecast of 81 billion yen.

Over at Daiichi Sankyo, Japan's third-biggest drugmaker, net profits fell 29.0% to 37.05 billion yen for the first half of the fiscal year. Sales were down 8.6% to 456.04 billion yen, hit in part by the strong yen and a decrease in turnover from Ranbaxy Laboratories, the Indian drugmaker in which Daiichi Sankyo has a 64% stake.

Ranbaxy sales fell 20.6% to 78.20 billion yen as the year-ago period included a higher contribution from a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's antiviral Valtrex (valacyclovir) in the USA.

On a positive note, the antihypertensive Olmetec (olmesartan) rose 1.8% to 123.8 billion yen, while the anti-inflammatory analgesic Loxonin (loxoprofen) brought in 30.10 billion yen, up 11.9%. Memary (memantine), the newly-launched N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, contributed 3.9 billion yen.

Daiichi Sankyo's full year sales forecast has been lowered by 40.00 billion yen to 930.00 billion yen, though operating income should rise 10% to 100 billion yen, helped by cost-cutting.

Meantime, Eisai noted that sales fell 19.7% to 331.02 billion yen, while net income was down 16.6% to 33.33 billion yen.

The declines were principally due to lower sales of the company's Aricept (donepezil) for Alzheimer's disease, which sank 52.7% to 81.40 billion yen, ravaged by generic competition in the USA. The latter effect reduced revenues of Aciphex (rabeprazole), a proton pump inhibitor sold as Pariet in Japan, declined nearly 10% to 63.30 billion yen. Eisai's new breast cancer drug Halaven (eribulin) contributed 6.23 billion yen and the company is predicting full-year sales for the treatment of 18.50 billion yen.

For fiscal 2012, net income is now expected to reach 67.50 billion yen, 2.9% down from a previous forecast. Revenues should be 6.6% lower, at 654 billion yen.