Japan’s Chugai Pharmaceutical has posted net profit of 44.8 billion yen in the first nine months of the year - more than double the year-earlier level - on the back of strong sales of its flu drug, Tamiflu (oseltamivir).

Revenues rose 8% to 231 billion yen, with Tamiflu up 233% to 23.3 billion yen, helped by “a large-scale outbreak of influenza in February and March 2005,” said the Japanese company, which is 51% owned by Swiss drugmaker Roche. The latter also reported rapidly escalating sales of Tamiflu in its third quarter results statement last week [[14/10/04b]].

Among its other mainstay products, the anaemia drug Epogin (epoetin alfa) rose 6% to 51 billion yen in the nine-month period and white blood cell stimulator Neutrogin (lenograstim) rose 15% to 23.1 billion yen.

A useful contribution was also made by the osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene) - launched by Chugai in Japan in May 2004 - which amassed 6 billion yen in sales, a rise of 200%.

Overseas sales rose by a quarter compared with the same period last year, due to strong sales of Neutrogin, mainly in Europe, said Chugai.