PHARMACEUTICAL firm ProStrakan has recorded a bumper year, with turnover up 20% to a record £155 million and profits more than doubling.

The Galashiels business, bought by Japanese corporation Kyowa Hakko Kirin (KHK) in 2011, said its Abstral cancer pain relief product had been the strongest performer, with a 42% rise in sales to more than £45m in 2013.

Operating profits were said to have grown from about £12m to more than £29m across the 12 months.

Loading article content

Tom Stratford, chief executive, highlighted a strong performance in Europe as well as from the ­partnering business, where £26m worth of ProStrakan's ­products were sold through other companies.

He said the rate of growth was slightly slower in the US but he expects that to pick up in the next couple of years.

The UK remains ProStrakan's largest single market and saw a 9% rise in sales last year, to around £47m.

Mr Stratford said: "It has been a very strong year for the business, with record revenue and profit.

"Our commercial teams in many of the key European markets have done a fantastic job, often competing against much larger companies."

Further expansion is predicted in the coming years as ProStrakan looks to broaden its product range and geographic reach.

Of its current products, Mr Stratford pointed out that Sancuso, an anti-nausea patch for cancer sufferers, was launched in northern European countries last year, with a southern European roll-out pencilled in for 2014.

Mr Stratford said: "It is early days, but so far we have had good reaction from the markets where it has been introduced, which are the UK, Germany, Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries."

In the near term, ProStrakan is also looking at acquiring or adding new products through partnering agreements with other companies.

Mr Stratford said: "We are ­looking at a number of products in the US quite closely but equally looking in Europe as well. Products that fit with our future pipeline are top of our priority.

"Products that continue to develop our relationships with oncologists in the cancer field would be important to us but there might be new opportunities that arise over time. We are trying to work on a number of fronts.

"KHK has a fair degree of ­capital available and should we identify something which moves the company forward in the right way, they will be happy to make those investments."

Further down the line, three products which are in late-stage clinical trials with KHK are expected to be sold by ProStrakan. Mr Stratford described these as "novel, exciting, high-science products".

One is a tablet to help Parkinson's patients with the symptoms of their disease, while another involves antibodies designed to combat cancer.

Staff numbers in Galashiels have risen around 50% to 110 since KHK bought the company for £292m, with Mr Stratford highlighting a number of training exchange programmes between Tokyo and Scotland. ProStrakan's global workforce is now in the region of 400 people.

He said: "As new products come, then we will require further new skill sets in the business and additional staff to help us handle all the new products we are bringing into the market."

ProStrakan has also added to its board, with Jim O'Shea, formerly an executive at AstraZeneca as well Sepracor, joining to help advance the business in the US.

Mr Stratford said: "We would expect to see quite a bit of growth in the [US in the] next 12 to 18 months."