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Sanofi returns to growth in Q3

Diabetes products and Genzyme help company overcome patent cliff
Sanofi reception

Sanofi's patent cliff seems to have come to an end after experience a tough time in the last few financial quarters thanks to generic competition to big-selling brands.

The turnaround is not abundantly obvious from Sanofi's third-quarter results - with sales just about flat at €8.43bn ($11.63bn) and profits down nearly 9 per cent to €1.79bn - but chief executive Chris Viehbacher said the period has been an "inflection point" for the company.

The modest 0.6 per cent sales increase comes after consecutive declines over five quarters and was driven by healthy growth for Sanofi's diabetes portfolio, including Lantus (insulin glargine), which was up more than 21 per cent to €1.46bn.

Speciality medicines unit Genzyme also did well, with revenues up 21 per cent to €529m as sales of its rare disease drugs recovered from earlier manufacturing constraints, with oral multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio (teriflunomide) adding €44m to the tally.

There were also gains for consumer health and animal medicines, and Viehbacher noted that Sanofi's growth platforms now account for 75 per cent of group sales.

On the downside, vaccines sales - also billed as a growth platform by the company - slumped 7 per cent to €1.3bn on the back of shortages of pertussis-containing Pentacel and Adacel vaccines in the US until mid-October.

Among the legacy products, sales of Plavix (clopidogrel) - formerly the top-selling drug worldwide - appear to be bottoming out with sales down 2.6 per cent to €1.37bn, while anticoagulant Lovenox (enoxaparin) and Aprovel/Avapro (irbesartan) for high blood pressure continued to slide.

Sanofi lowered its financial guidance for the full year, saying it now expects earnings per share to be around 10 per cent lower than 2012.

30th October 2013

From: Sales

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