Nycomed numbers dip in second quarter

Pharmaceutical developer Nycomed saw revenue in its contrast agentbusiness fall 7% and profit decline 25% in the second quarter,due in large measure to pricing pressures in the U.S. market.The Oslo company said it intended to substantially reduce costsin

Pharmaceutical developer Nycomed saw revenue in its contrast agentbusiness fall 7% and profit decline 25% in the second quarter,due in large measure to pricing pressures in the U.S. market.The Oslo company said it intended to substantially reduce costsin its main business areas, but declined to mention specificsother than personnel reductions at its R&D unit in Linz, Austria.

For the quarter, the company's Nycomed Imaging contrast agentbusiness posted operating revenue of 1.22 billion Norwegian krone($190 million), down 7% compared with revenue of NOK 1.31 billion($205 million) in the same period last year. Operating profitdropped to NOK 459 million ($71.7 million), down 25% comparedwith NOK 608 million ($95 million) in the same period of 1995.

Nycomed said sales of its flagship Omnipaque nonionic x-raycontrast agent were lower in the U.S. due to intense price pressure,although the agent has maintained its U.S. market share. The companyattributed the pressure to the growing power of group purchasingorganizations: Several large new contracts issued in the firsthalf of 1996 gave discounts amounting to about 60% of gross price.On the other hand, sales of Omnipaque, Visipaque, and Imagopaqueincreased 13% in Europe and other markets outside North Americain the first half of the year.

Sales of Nycomed's Omniscan MRI agent have grown in Europe,but are flat in the U.S. Nycomed claims to have increased itsmarket share in the segment, but revenues are hamstrung by thesame pricing pressure affecting x-ray agents. Omniscan was launchedin Japan in June by Nycomed's licensee Daiichi Pharmaceutical.

Nycomed said it plans to adjust to the new pricing environmentby substantially reducing costs in the third quarter. It has alreadycut 60 jobs from the Linz R&D unit, although analysts weredisappointed that the company did not further reveal its intentions.