Takeda this week reported better than expected quarter one results that lend a sense of promise to the full year, say investors, but Japan’s biggest pharmaceutical company is keeping a level head and its forecasts remain unchanged.

Net income jumped 8% to 124.6 billion yen ($1.1 billion) on the back of good sales from the diabetes treatment Actos (pioglitazone) and the blood pressure lowering drug Blopress (candesartan cilexitil). Overall, total sales were 334.3 billion yen, up 6.7%, with Actos putting in a sterling growth performance, rising 51% over last year’s effort to 84 billion yen. Blopress was not as impressive in terms of growth but still managed a 6% boost and sales of 52 billion yen, however ulcer drug Takepron (lansoprazole) did not fair so well, tumbling almost 14% to a little over 40 billion yen.

Its ethicals business overall inflated 11% to 297 billion yen, but the same cannot be said for growth in its domestic market, which rose just 5% to 137 billion yen as Takeda had to absorb the negative impact from the revision of National Health Insurance drug prices in April, which shaved an average 6.7% off the cost of pharmaceutical products.

For the full year, the company is hanging its hat on pulling in 1.2 trillion yen in sales, with net income expected to be in the region of 320 billion.

Like its Japanese counterparts, Takeda too has chosen to tread the share buyback route, revealing a programme to reel up to 14 million shares (equivalent to 1.5%) back into the firm at a cost of up to 100 billion yen. It says the move will help it improve capital efficiencies and allow more flexibility in pushing its “financial strategies” through more expeditiously.

Meanwhile, the company has had a mixed week of product news after a drug it was developing with US partner BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals failed to throw up a positive outcome in two late-stage trials designed to show its benefit in preventing nerve damage caused by chemotherapy. Although in a statement BioNumerik said it continues to believe Tavocept (BNP7787) has potential in this arena, because sub-group analyses unveiled a significant effect in US-enrolled patients, Takeda is not so sure and says it is considering pulling the plug on the deal given the timelines involved in additional clinical testing. Takeda made a $52 million equity investment in BioNumerik in 2004.

On the upside, though, Takeda’s operations in North America earlier this week grabbed a nod from the US Food and Drug Administration for its new diabetes agent Duetact (pioglitazone and glimepiride) for patients with type 2 disease. The therapy combines Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone) with the sulfonylurea glimepiride and works both to combat insulin resistance and increase the amount of the hormone released by the pancreas. A launch is scheduled for later on this year.