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Japan-Update

Chugai Pharma targets $920m core operating profit in 2019

Japanese drugmaker expects revenue growth from new drugs

TOKYO -- Chugai Pharmaceutical aims to increase its core operating profit to more than 100 billion yen ($920 million) in the year ending December 2019, up by 10% or more from the amount projected for the current year.

The Japanese unit of Switzerland's Roche Holding uses core operating profit as its business benchmark. Unlike operating profit, core operating profit does not reflect such factors as depreciation costs of intangible assets. Chugai projects 92 billion yen in core operating profit for the current year through December.

The company sees emicizumab, a hemophilia treatment currently awaiting approvals from the Japanese, U.S. and European authorities, contributing to the expected rise in core profit. Having finished clinical trials, the drug should get approvals as soon as next year. This new treatment reduces the burden on hemophilia sufferers, since it requires only one hypodermic injection a week. With currently offered drugs, patients need to get two or three intravenous injections per week.

In addition, the atezolizumab cancer antibody treatment, which is already on the market in the U.S., is expected to go on sale in Japan, Europe and elsewhere next year or later.

"We will enter the next phase of growth in 2019, when new drugs start contributing to our earnings," said Chief Financial Officer Yoshio Itaya.

At the same time, Chugai will trim the fat from R&D and other expenses. Its ratio of costs to sales came to 33.4% in the previous year, down more than 4 percentage points from five years earlier. "We will hold down the pace of cost increases below that of sales growth, Itaya added.

(Nikkei)

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