Johnson Matthey posts higher Q3 API profits; Pfizer patent spat continues

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Johnson matthey Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Johnson Matthey sees anti-addiction APIs grown in Q3
Johnson Matthey sees anti-addiction APIs grown in Q3
Johnson Matthey saw demand for ADHD APIs increase in the third quarter, while sales of its pain management ingredients and bulk opiates declined.

The UK-headquartered precious metals firm reported that operating profit for its fine chemicals business increased in Q3 of fiscal 2014. Revenue for the period was £73m, down from £76m in the third quarter fiscal 2013.

Johnson Matthey attributed the profit hike to “product mix benefits​” citing a “good contribution​” from the sale of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug ingredients.

This part of the Johnson Matthey’s business has had a rollercoaster ride of late.

In July the US Court for the District of New Jersey ruled​ the firm along with five of its ADHD API customers – Actavis, Amneal, Mylan, Roxane and Sandoz – had infringed patents covering Shire’s drug Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate).

The ruling – according to Shire – means the firms cannot launch “generic versions of Vyvanse until the earlier of either a successful appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or the expiration of these patents in 2023.”

Addiction APIs higher

Johnson Matthey also said it had seen higher revenue from APIs for addiction therapies.

The Q3 anti-addiction increase reverses the trend reported by Johnson Matthey in its first half financials in November​, when it said sales were down “partly as a result of phasing of orders for an API used in a generic product for the treatment of drug addiction​.”

The growth contrasted with the performance of Johnson Matthey’s pain management ingredient business, which saw sales fall as a result of lower demand in Europe.

API investment

The API results follows just weeks after Johnson Matthey bought a manufacturing site​ in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland from Bakhu Pharma, citing demand for drug ingredients.

Total sales increased five per cent to £745m and profits increased by £500,000 to £96.5 million, which included losses related to “the final impact of the change in the Anglo American Platinum contracts​.”

The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Pfizer battle

Publication of the Q3 updated follows just a few days after Johnson Matthey became further involved in a legal tussle with US drug giant Pfizer.

According to a complaint filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia​ on January 13, Johnson Matthey is seeking declaratory relief relating to a patent suit brought against it by the US drug giant relating to the drug Tikosyn (dofetilide).

Pfizer is suing Tiger Pharmaceuticals for patent infringement and wants Johnson Matthey, which is listed as the API supplier on Tiger’s ANDA, to provide its dofetilide API drug master file (DMF). 

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