Daiichi Sankyo, Japan's second-largest drugmaker, saw net sales reach 486 billion yen ($4bn), up 7.5% year-on-year for the six months to September 30, while net profit surged 35.3% to 66.8 billion yen.

Overall, Daiichi Sankyo posted a loss of 7.8 billion yen during the period, as a result of the costs of integrating Daiichi’s business with Sankyo’s following their merger last year.

Net sales from Daiichi Sankyo pharmaceuticals totalled 441.3 billion yen, a 14.5% rise, as operating income for this unit fell 2.3% to 75.8 billion yen.

In overseas markets, the leading contributor to growth was Benicar/Olmetec (olmesartan), while exports of bulk antibiotic levofloxacin also grew 10% to 16.4 billion yen. However, the overseas performance was held back by a decline in exports of bulk pravastatin, following the loss of patent protection for this drug in the USA by licensee Bristol-Myers Squibb. Sales slipped 60% to 14.8 billion.

Growth in the Japanese market was led by antihypertensive agent Olmetec (olmesartan),whose sales almost doubled to 19.4 billion yen and cardiovascular drug Artist (carvedilol), up 17% to 6.6 billion yen.

Sales revenue in Japan was also boosted by the receipt of milestone payments related to the Japanese National Health Insurance listing of the antiplatelet agent Plavix (clopidogrel).

In the domestic prescription drug market, the downward revision in the NHI drug reimbursement tariff implemented in April averaged 6.7% across the industry. As a result, net sales of prescription drugs in Japan totalled 215.2 billion yen, the firm noted.