Takeda's third-quarter profit rises 28 percent on strong sales of main drugs

FILE PHOTO - Takeda Pharmaceutical Co's logo is seen at its new headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd on Friday posted a 27.9 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit, supported by strong sales of its drugs for bowel disease and multiple myeloma.

Profit reached 112.5 billion yen ($1.03 billion) in October-December, Japan’s biggest drugmaker said in a stock exchange filing.

The company also maintained its full-year operating profit forecast at 268.9 billion yen. That compared with the 240.7 billion yen average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Takeda completed a $59 billion deal to acquire peer Shire in January, joining the ranks of the world’s biggest 10 drugmakers by sales - and also becoming one of the world’s most indebted.

Proceeding with its plan to sell up to $10 billion in non-core assets to slash the debt, Takeda aims to focus on five key areas: oncology, gastroenterology, neuroscience, rare disease, and plasma derived therapies.

The drugmaker is also looking at vaccines as a potential core business. It said earlier this week its experimental dengue vaccine is safe and effective at preventing all four types of the mosquito-borne disease.

Takeda has already started divesting. It announced on Monday that it would sell a set of 21 assets, including its headquarters building in Osaka, and book about 38 billion yen in proceeds for the year through March.

During nine months ending in December, sales of Entyvio, a treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, hit 201 billion yen, up 34.4 percent on year. Ninlaro, which treats multiple myeloma, rose 34.5 percent.

Takeda does not disclose quarterly sales of each product.

Reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Christopher Cushing