Crucell CEO Ronald Brus said that Quinavaxem in particular, which is produced in Korea by the company’s Berna Biotech subsidiary, had driven the improved performance. Overall sales for the period reached just under €60m, around 51 per cent higher than the comparable quarter last year.
Brus added that Quinavaxem, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae, was recently described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being of significant benefit in helping countries to achieve health targets.
"We expect the product can grow significantly in the coming years and we think we are well positioned to become a main player on this market, based on our experience of producing Quinvaxem on a large scale," he added.
For the full year, Crucell expects total revenue and operating income to be around 20 per cent higher than those achieved in 2007, largely due to gains it anticipates being made by its range of anti-influenza products, particularly Inflexal V and various ongoing development partnerships.
Despite Crucell’s upbeat prediction some observers were disappointed by the result. For example Petercam analyst Jan Van den Bossche told Reuters that while: "Top-line and net profit growth looked good at first sight but underlying, the results seemed disappointing."
He also suggested that Crucell's cost saving “healthy ambition” programme, which is only expected to generate net savings of €3m euros in the second half of year, was off to a slow start.
PER.C6 to be made in US
Crucell also revealed that income generated from licensing agreements, including its monoclonal antibody production deal with Bioceros, its biomanufacturing contract with Celltrion and partnership with Toyobo Gene Analysis, was up 27 per cent for the second quarter.
In addition, Crucell’s PER.C6 cell line technology that it develops in partnership with US-based DSM Biologics, continued to see strong growth. The product is the most effective protein manufacturing system currently on the market with a maximum yield of 27 grams per litre.
Most recently Crucell signed a deal with California’s Avid Bioservices, which makes the latter the first firm in the US to be granted approved PER.C6 manufacturer status and significantly expands the products potential market.