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S-A posts strong Q2 and H1 figures

French pharma company has 'very good' second quarter boosted by strong performances of leading drugs

Sanofi-aventis (S-A) has posted a net income increase of 29 per cent to €2.4bn and an 11.2 per cent rise in net sales of €7.4bn for the second quarter. Gross profit at the French company grew 10.1 per cent to €11.6bn in H1, with net sales for the period up 6.7 per cent to €14.5bn.

The company said it was confident of equalling 2008 sales and income by 2013, despite the growing threat of numerous patents expiries over the next five years. S-A said it would focus on growth from diabetes products, vaccines, OTC sales and the emerging markets.

As a result of strong first-half performance, the company raised its 2009 full-year guidance and now expects growth in adjusted EPS for the year to be 10 per cent at €2.02.

Second-quarter net sales for the company's pharmaceutical business rose 7.3 per cent to €6.7bn and first-half net sales increased 3 per cent to €13.2bn.

The company's figures were bolstered by strong performances of five flagship products including, Lantus, Lovenox, Plavix, Taxotere and Apidra.

Net sales of Lantus rose 26 per cent to €792m in Q2, in line with the first-quarter growth trend, largely driven by the SoloSTAR injection pen. Sales of the diabetes treatment were up 28.7 per cent to €495m in the US, 14.6 per cent to €195m in Europe and 42.9 per cent to €102m in the other countries region.

Second-quarter net sales of insulin analog Apidra rose 54.5 per cent to €35m boosted by the launch of Apidra SoloSTAR in the US. Net sales of Apidra grew 48.8 per cent to €66m in the first half of 2009.

Lovenox net sales increased by 13.3 per cent to €780m, the result of robust performances in Europe where sales grew 22.4 per cent to €226m and in the other countries region were sales rose 31.8 per cent at €85m. First-half sales of the drug increased 6.9 per cent at €1.5bn.

Net sales for Taxotere rose 10.7 per cent to €584m for the quarter, driven by its use in adjuvant breast cancer treatment and in prostate cancer. The product saw strong growth in the US (9.6 per cent rise to €228m) and in the other countries region (12.7 per cent increase to €117m). In Japan, sales grew by 13.4 per cent to €34m, bolstered by approval for use of Taxotere in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Despite the introduction of generic competition in Europe, net sales of Plavix rose 9.6 per cent overall, driven by a strong performance in the US and in the other countries region. In Europe, which accounts for 25 per cent of sales, there was a 3.2 per cent decline in sales of Plavix due to competition from clopidogrel besylate in the monotherapy segment in Germany. In Japan, net sales rose 61.8 per cent to €85m.

Sales at the French company's OTC business rose 23.1 per cent for the second quarter to €311m, with the six flagship brands – doliprane, essentiale, maalox, no-spa, enterogermina and lactacyd – achieving significant growth of 12.9 per cent.

In its generics business, the consolidation of Zentiva and Kendrick, from April 1, and Medley, from May 1, resulted in net sales tripling to €284m when compared to the same reporting period in 2008.

29th July 2009

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