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Bayer CEO Dekkers points to 'outstanding' pharma growth

On target to meet company’s annual expectations of €7.5bn

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Bayer's pharma division chalked up another buoyant quarter on the back of rocketing sales of anticoagulant Xarelto and other recently launched products, raising its 2014 forecasts.

Healthcare sales rose 7% to €5bn overall, with Xarelto (rivaroxaban) up 69% to €440m in the quarter and doubling its turnover in the US, where it is sold by Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Growth for the anticoagulant remains strong despite increasing competition from rivals Pradaxa (dabigatran) from Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer's Eliquis (apixaban) and ties in with data showing the uptake of all three novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) is rising fast as they replace older drugs such as warfarin.

Bayer's stable of new products all put in good performances, with sales of Eylea (aflibercept) for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) more than doubling to reach €189m in the quarter - setting it well on track to meets its blockbuster expectations.

Prostate cancer drug Xofigo (radium-223 dichloride) also built momentum, bringing in €49m in the quarter, although Bayer will want to see a sizeable uptick in sales to offset the $2.9bn it paid for the drug's developer Algeta last December.

Another new cancer drug - Stivarga (regorafenib) for colorectal and stomach cancer - saw its upward momentum checked in the third quarter, with sales down almost 10% to €46m on the back of reimbursement obstacles, particularly in France. Meanwhile, Adempas (riociguat) for pulmonary hypertension - approved in the US just over a year ago - brought in €23m.

All told, the five growth products added €750m to Bayer's top line in the quarter, putting them well on the way towards meeting the company's expectations of €7.5bn a year at peak and compensating for slowing sales of older products such as Betaferon/Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) for multiple sclerosis.

Bayer chief executive Marijn Dekkers said sales growth of the new products was "outstanding", but added that earnings were pegged back in both pharma and its consumer health business by higher costs, particularly R&D spending.

Bayer's recent decision to spin-out its material science division as a separate company in order to focus on its life science operations would build on its "achievements in the research-intensive areas of human, animal and plant health," he added.

Overall, Bayer's group sales rose 5.6% to €10.19bn, with net income up nearly 13% to a little over €2bn. It now aims to raise full calendar-year sales around 6% to €42bn, helped by its recent €14bn acquisition of Merck & Co's consumer health business.

Article by
Phil Taylor

30th October 2014

From: Sales

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