Australia’s Biota Holdings has posted a 364% increase in half-year profits, thanks to royalties from GlaxoSmithKline’s flu treatment Relenza.

Net income for the six-month period ended December 31, 2009, reached A$33.5 million, (about $30.2 million), while revenues jumped 84% to A$61.7 million. That figure included A$56.7 million from Relenza (zanamivir), up from A$3.8 million in the like, year-earlier period.

Biota chief executive Peter Cook noted that whilst growth in Relenza royalties” is the major financial driver, progress with our key projects and particularly laninamivir and the expansion of our pipeline sets the scene for a very exciting future”. Lanamivir is an antiviral which has been licensed by Daiichi Sankyo and a New Drug Application was filed in Japan earlier this month.

The Melbourne-headquartered company is expecting 2010 will be a record year as Relenza royalty income should remain solid. Biota added that “commercial interest [is] being expressed in laninamivir and it hopes to secure a licensee outside of Japan “in the near future”.

Noting that costs remain under tight control, Mr Cook added that "the implementation of our strategy, to have two or three royalty generating products in the market at the same time, is well underway".