Ipsen has posted a 2.4% rise in sales for the first quarter to 292.8 million euros, helped by the contribution of its anti-wrinkle treatment Dysport.

Revenue growth was driven by Decapeptyl (triptorelin pamoate) for prostate cancer, which rose 4.3% to 68.0 million euros, while the French drugmaker's Somatuline (lanreotide) range of drugs for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumours was up 18.7% to 54.7 million euros. Sales of Dysport (abobotulinumtoxin A) for wrinkles and cervical dystonia, which competes with Allergan’s Botox (botulinum toxin A), rose 14.7% to 57.4 million euros.

In February, Allergan began legal proceedings against Ipsen in Italy and in the UK concerning an alleged patent infringement concerning certain uses of botulinum toxin products in the field of urology. The Paris-headquartered firm says it will vigorously defend its rights.

Ipsen's primary care sales were down 13.4% to 81.9 million euros which the firm said was due to "the difficult French market situation" and by a stocking effect (about 4.4 million euros) in Russia. Also, like a number of drugmakers who sell directly to hospitals in "certain countries exposed to significant public deficits", Ipsen is having problems getting paid, notably in Greece which represented in 2011 1.6% of total sales. The company noted that it may also be unable to purchase sufficient credit insurance to protect itself adequately against the risk of payment default from certain customers.

Ipsen is more confident about its prospects in the USA and at the end of April opened its new commercial headquarters in New Jersey. Chief executive Marc de Garidel said it is "a new market in which we see significant opportunity [and] the move to New Jersey gives us access to the best talents of the biopharma industry".

Ipsen also disclosed that it has sold its 19.3% stake in the UK's Spirogen, a DNA-targeted therapeutics firm, for an undisclosed upfront cash payment and terminated its agreement with Novartis for the co-promotion of the antihypertensive Exforge (amlodipine plus valsartan) in France, pocketing a 4 million euro cash exit fee.