Japanese drugmakers, Yamanouchi and Fujisawa – due to merge in April to form the country’s second largest pharmaceutical player [[24/02/04a]] – both reported third quarter results this week.

Yamanouchi, currently the third largest drug company in Japan, suffered a 31% decline in net profit to 38 billion yen in the third quarter, impacted by costs associated with its 800 billion yen acquisition of Fujisawa to form Astellas [[25/05/04b]]. Revenues also fell 14% to 344 billion yen, but were skewed by the amalgamation of its over-the-counter business, along with Fujisawa’s over-the-counter portfolio, into the Zepharma joint venture. Sales would otherwise have risen almost 4%, according to the company.

Meanwhile, Fujisawa posted a 3% hike in sales to 323 billion yen, while net profit came in at 48.6 billion yen (no comparison was available with the prior year because Fujisawa only started reporting quarterly profits in the last fiscal year). It too said sales in Japan decreased due to the OTC business transfer to Zepharma and the withdrawal from its chemicals activities.

Yamanouchi said that its pharmaceutical sales increase was thanks to a good performance by incontinence treatment, Harnal (tamsulosin), in overseas markets, which helped it to a 12% sales increase to 103 billion yen, as well as solid gains for anti-hypertensive Micardis (telmisartan) and cholesterol-lowerer Lipitor (atorvastatin) in Japan. The US launch of Vesicare (solifenacin succinate) for overactive bladder also contributed, adding about $10 million dollars to the firm’s coffers from initial orders. [[23/11/04c]] This product is partnered with GlaxoSmithKline.

For Fujisawa, top-selling product Prograf (tacrolimus), an immunosuppressant, managed a 15% rise in turnover in the nine-month period to 96.1 billion yen. Imaging agent Adenoscan (adenosine) leapfrogged the antibiotic Cefzon (cefdinir) into the number two slot at the company, with sales up 18% to 25.7 billion yen. Cefzon revenues were down 19% to 18.3 billion yen.

Once the two drugmakers tie the knot, Astellas will be ranked seventeenth globally with medicine sales of 820 billion yen and a sales force of 2,700 in Japan.