(Updates with details, background, adds Daiichi Sankyo)
TOKYO Jan 31 Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
(4502.T), Japan's biggest drug maker, booked a 24.5 percent rise
in profit for the first nine months of the business year on
Thursday as more diabetes patients turned to its Actos pill after
a rival drug was hit by safety concerns.
Takeda said net profit climbed to 331.4 billion yen ($3.12
billion) for the April-December period, up from 266.2 billion yen
in the same period a year earlier.
It left its projection of annual net income unchanged at 395
billion yen, below the average estimate of 409 billion yen from
Sales of Actos, the main earnings engine for Takeda, have
risen while those of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK.L) Avandia have
tumbled since Avandia was linked to heart attack risk in a U.S.
study last May.
Domestic rival Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd (4568.T) also said net
profit for the April-December period jumped, rising 24 percent to
96.4 billion yen, helped by strong sales of its high blood
pressure medicine Benicar.
Takeda's U.S. patent for Actos will expire in 2011 and the
company is under pressure to successfully bring new drugs to
market to offset the loss of earnings.
Investors were spooked late last year when U.S. authorities
recommended Takeda to halt high-dose trials of a key
cholesterol-lowering drug candidate.
But they have had some reassurance with two recent filings
for U.S. approval, one for a new type of diabetes treatment,
alogliptin or SYR-322, which it hopes will compete with Merck &
Co's (MRK.N) Januvia, and one for a successor to its heartburn
and ulcer drug Prevacid.
Takeda's stock was up 0.9 percent at 6,450 yen after the
announcement and Daiichi Sankyo's shares were 1.9 percent higher
at 3,170 yen.
(Reporting by Edwina Gibbs, Editing by Michael Watson)
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