Daiichi aims to double profits by 2013

Daiichi Sankyo is aiming high: The Japanese drugmaker announced that it aims to almost double profits in three years. To do that, it intends to boost revenue by 20 percent, counting on a.) overseas expansion, b.) the resurgence of its generics subsidiary Ranbaxy Laboratories, and c.) strong sales of Effient, the new blood thinner it developed with Eli Lilly.

Here are the details: Daiichi expects overseas sales to represent 56.5 percent of its total revenues in three years, six percentage points higher than they are right now. Part of that growth has to come from Ranbaxy, which is still struggling under U.S. import bans, so Daiichi has sent a quality-control expert to India to help get that operation up to snuff.

The sooner that happens, the better for Daiichi. Ranbaxy can't launch a generic version of the prostate drug Flomax as planned because it lacks U.S. regulatory approval; that's quite a setback, given that the company would have had that coveted 180-day marketing exclusivity for the drug.

Then there's Effient; Daiichi expects global sales of that product to hit 50 billion yen ($552 million) within three years.

Just how likely is it that all three of those cylinders will fire as planned? "The numerical targets gave me the impression of being a bit aggressive, although I don't think it's impossible to achieve them," Kenji Masuzoe, an analyst at Deutsche Securities, told Reuters. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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