January 31, 2020 / 3:08 AM / 25 days ago

Astellas Pharma 9M operating profit rises 14% to 238 bln yen

TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc said operating profit rose 14% to 238 billion yen ($2.17 billion) in the nine months ending Dec. 31 and it maintained its full-year forecast.

For the full year ending March 31, Astellas said it expects an operating profit of 263 billion yen compared with analyst forecasts for 256 billion yen, according to Refinitiv data.

Japan’s second-biggest drugmaker by sales has ramped up overseas acquisitions to broaden its drug pipeline.

In December it said it would pay up to $665 billion for Xyphos Biosciences Inc to expand its immuno-oncology business. Earlier that month, Astellas said it would purchase Audentes Therapeutics Inc to expand into genetic medicines, a deal worth $2.65 billion.

Both Xyphos and Audentes are based in San Francisco, a hub for biotech companies that are fetching huge premiums for global pharma companies eager to bolster their drug pipelines.

Shares in Astellas gained 3.5% in morning trading in Tokyo. ($1 = 109.7000 yen) (Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by David Dolan)

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