Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim is claiming the number two spot among the top 20 pharmaceutical companies for 2004 growth, reporting double-digit gains for both revenues and operating profit.

The company’s chairman, Dr Alessandro Banchi, told a news conference yesterday that the company was growing twice as fast as the pharmaceutical industry average, helped by a strong showing in the important US market.

Revenues rose more than 10% to just under 8.2 billion euros, with growth driven by surging sales for Spiriva (tiotropium), Boehringer’s drug for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which was launched last year in the US and Japan. This product, partnered with Pfizer, posted sales up 130% to 525 million euros, a performance that helped lift the company’s operating profit by 50% to 1.4 billion euros and net profit by 70% to over 900 million euros.

Boehringer’s bestselling product was once again Alna/Flomax (tamsulosin) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, albeit with sales largely flat at 740 million euros. In second place was Mobic (meloxicam) for rheumatoid arthritis, which grew 44% to 670 million euros, followed by blood pressure treatment Micardis (telmisartan) – up 41% to 570 million euros.

Looking ahead to 2005, the company said that it would be rolling out the new antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) – partnered with Eli Lilly – into additional markets, and would also be launching its new HIV drug tipranavir. This would help grow sales to around 9 billion euros this year, said Boehringer.