July 17, 2020 / 11:33 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Finnish drugmaker Orion's Q2 profit, sales beat forecasts

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July 17 (Reuters) - Finnish drugmaker Orion on Friday reported better-than-expected April-June numbers, boosted by payments from Bayer AG, but said it saw demand for several of its products levelling off since spiking in March-April.

Orion’s operating profit rose 85% from a year earlier to 96.4 million euros ($110 million) on sales up 16% to 292.5 million euros, both well ahead of analysts expectations Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Orion said in May it would book 28 million euros from Bayer as a milestone payment for sales starts in EU and Japan for its drug darolutamide. Bayer has the right to commercialise the prostate cancer drug globally while Orion manufactures it and receives milestone payments upon first sale in different markets.

Last week Orion said it expects operating profit this year to be higher than in 2019, after previously forecasting a flat outcome.

Orion said it saw demand for several of its products spiking in March due to the pandemic.

“As expected, the impacts of this spike in demand started to level off in the second quarter, although with some products the demand continued to be stronger than usual also in April,” Chief Executive Timo Lappalainen said in a statement.

Orion said net sales of the intensive care sedatives Dexdor and Precedex saw demand surge.

“Due to the COVID-19 situation and shortage of other sedatives available in the European market, the demand for Dexdor reached a historical high in March and April,” it said.

“The demand for Precedex, a sedative sold in non-European markets, spiked in the second quarter,” Orion said.

Orion shares were 1% lower in the afternoon trading.

$1 = 0.8763 euros Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; editing by Jason Neely and Chizu Nomiyama

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