October 29, 2018 / 10:47 AM / 22 days ago

Shionogi aims to double flu-drug market with FDA-approved treatment

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Shionogi & Co Ltd aims to double the global market for flu treatment with its drug Xofluza, the first flu drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agency in nearly 20 years, its chief executive said.

The drugmaker on Monday raised its full-year operating profit outlook to 124.5 billion yen ($1.11 billion), underpinned by an early approval for the new drug, beating the average market estimates of 121.08 billion yen, according to Refinitiv.

“While the global market of flu drug is said to be about $1 billion to $1.5 billion, we want to expand it to around $3 billion,” CEO Isao Teshirogi said at a conference on Monday.

Xofluza, which is already sold in Japan, will be marketed globally by drugmaker Roche. The Swiss drugmaker said last month it expects peak sales of the drug to be over 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion).

An exceptionally harsh U.S. flu season last year resulted in more than 900,000 people getting hospitalized and more than 80,000 deaths, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teshirogi underlined the convenience of the single dose of the drug, unlike Roche’s Tamiflu, which requires two doses a day for five days.

“We don’t expect new rival medicines to be launched one after another in the near future,” he added.

In the second quarter ended September, the company also posted a record 32.6 billion yen of royalty income from its HIV drug that contributes 40 percent of its total revenue.

($1 = 112.1200 yen)

($1 = 0.9995 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Takashi Umekawa, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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