February 2, 2009 / 6:13 AM / 10 years ago

Astellas posts 9-month profit fall, lifts outlook

TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Astellas Pharma Inc (4503.T), Japan’s second-largest drugmaker, said on Monday its pretax profit dipped 7 percent in the nine months to December, hit by increased development costs and a strong yen.

But Astellas raised its forecast for pretax recurring profit in the year to March by 4 percent to 270 billion yen ($3 billion), above the average forecast for a 261.77 billion yen profit from 13 analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

Astellas, which generates nearly half of its revenues abroad, posted a recurring profit of 243.35 billion yen, down from 260.63 billion yen a year earlier.

Japanese drugmakers, racing with bigger global rivals to fill revenue gaps caused by patent expirations, are increasing spending to beef up their drug pipelines.

Astellas’ shares fell 6 percent in April-December, outperforming the Nikkei 225 Stock Average <.N225 >, which fell 30 percent. (Reporting by Yumiko Nishitani; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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