Actelion hikes core profit guidance after strong first-half

A general view shows Swiss biotech group Actelion Headquarters in Allschwil

FRANKFURT/ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss biotechnology firm Actelion  raised its guidance for a second time, buoyed by strong uptake of its new pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) medicines.

Europe’s biggest biotech firm is banking on its two newest PAH drugs, Uptravi and Opsumit, to help offset falling revenue from Tracleer, its mainstay drug for the last decade that lost patent protection in November.

Actelion said it now expected its core operating income to rise by a low-teen percentage in 2016. In April it had said it expected core profit to grow at a high single-digit percentage rate.

It reported first-half core operating income of 499 million Swiss francs ($507.01 million), up 11 percent year on year at constant exchange rates.

Opsumit sales rose 76 percent at constant exchange rates to 378 million francs while Uptravi generated 90 million in sales. Uptravi went on sale in January, helping ease pressure from generic competition to Tracleer. Tracleer sales fell 18 percent at constant exchange rates to 546 million.

“All in all, the transformation of the company is well under way and I am very pleased with our achievements. What’s more, I am confident that we can sustain this momentum moving forward,” Chief Executive Jean-Paul Clozel said.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Michael Shields; Editing by Tina Bellon)