Bayer CEO touts Xarelto in Q3 pharma-sales growth

Thank you, Xarelto, Mirena, Cipro and friends. On the strength of these fast-growing products, Bayer's pharma division out-grew its other businesses, with a gain in net sales of 6.1%, to €2.73 billion ($3.545 billion). The anticoagulant Xarelto in particular delivered impressive increases: 294% on an adjusted basis, to €81 million, while the hormone uterine device Mirena grew by 22.5% to €183 million.

Thank you, as well, to emerging markets. Bayer credits sales of its China-specific diabetes drug Glucobay (up an adjusted 23.5% to €122 million), as well as Chinese sales of the cancer therapy Nexavar, as fuel for that pharma growth. "The main stimulus to growth [in 2012 pharma sales] is likely to come from emerging markets such as China, Brazil and Russia," the company told investors in its quarterly newsletter.

And no thank you, Yaz and Yasmin. Another €205 million in set-asides for legal settlements helped push profits down by 23.7%, to €838 million. And sales of the contraceptive pills were down by 4%, on an adjusted basis, partly because of generic competition. The popular drugs are subject to thousands of lawsuits over blood-clotting risks, which Bayer sees as "worthy of settlement," the newsletter said.

"HealthCare, particularly the Pharmaceuticals business, gained further growth momentum," CEO Marijn Dekkers said in a statement. Another strong performer: Consumer Health, which delivered an 11.5% sales increase, with growth particularly strong in non-prescription drugs.

Looking forward, Dekkers cited Xarelto's new indications and markets--it's now available in 70 countries--as reasons for optimism. Eylea, its new macular degeneration treatment, and the cancer drug Stivarga, a.k.a. regorafenib, are also quite promising, he said.

But Dekkers is most bullish on Xarelto, despite some recent development setbacks. "We are particularly pleased about our ongoing success with the launch of the anti-coagulant Xarelto," Dekkers said in a presentation to analysis. He has pegged the warfarin alternative's peak sales at $2.6 billion.

- see Bayer's newsletter (PDF)
- get the earnings release