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Sanofi nearing end of patent cliff, says Viehbacher

Higher third-quarter revenues see pharma company raise forecasts for 2012

Sanofi posted a 3 per cent hike in third-quarter revenues to €9.04bn ($11.7bn) and raised its forecasts for 2012 as a whole, with chief executive Chris Viehbacher saying the worst of the company's patent losses are now behind it.

The impact of generics on its "legacy blockbusters" is on the wane, said Viehbacher, with the bulk of the €488m in revenues lost to cut-price rivals in the third-quarter mainly due to the loss of patent protection to cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin) in the US.

Sanofi's share of revenues from Bristol-Myers Squibb-partnered antiplatelet drug Plavix (clopidogrel) fell 10 per cent to €505m, although worldwide the franchise was down 70 per cent to €568m. Meanwhile, the Avapro (irbesartan) franchise - also partnered with BMS - fell 26 per cent to €334m in the quarter.

Sanofi and BMS restructured their alliance for the two products following the loss of patent protection in major markets earlier this month.

Overall, prescription drug sales rose a little over 1 per cent to €7bn, driven by Sanofi's diabetes portfolio, vaccines, products sold by its Genzyme unit and revenues from emerging markets.

Lantus (insulin glargine) for diabetes posted 21 per cent growth to €1.28bn, while Genzyme sales rose 22 per cent  thanks to the resolution of supply issues affecting Fabry disease drug Fabrazyme, up 147 per cent to €87m.

The vaccines business shrugged off supply problems affecting products such as Pantacel and flu vaccines and was up a little under 1 per cent to €1.48bn, while sales to emerging markets rose 7 per cent to €2.82bn.

The third-quarter figures are "completely in line with the solid progress that the company has been making, getting through the patent cliff and preparing for a new future", said Viehbacher.

"We're confident in the outlook for 2012, and that's why we've moved our guidance to the top end of the range that we announced at the beginning of this year," he added.  

Sanofi is now expecting earnings per share (EPS) to be down around 12 per cent on 2011, whereas before it had been predicting a decline of 15 per cent.

26th October 2012

From: Sales

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