Sanofi Q1 growth driven by Genzyme

Genzyme continued to drive growth for Sanofi in the first quarter, helped along by the company’s vaccines unit, but diabetes drugs are still struggling.

Net sales were €8,391 million, an increase of 6.2% on a reported basis.

Genzyme sales were up 30.8%. This was driven partly by Dupixent, the monoclonal antibody that Sanofi is betting much of its hopes on. The drug was first approved by the FDA in atopic dermatitis in 2017, and in October last year scored a new indication in patients with an eosinophilic phenotype or with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma. And in February Sanofi reported promising trial results for the drug in nasal polyps.

These new indications and positive trial results have analysts predicting sales of several billion dollars a year for the drug.

Sanofi said the consolidation of Bioverativ, the haemophilia specialist biotech it acquired last year for $11.6 billion, also helped drive this growth.

Meanwhile, vaccines sales are up 20.1%, reflecting the recovery and growth of Pentaxim in China – after batches of the five-in-one vaccine failed regulatory tests in the country last year – and Menactra’s strength in emerging markets.

First-quarter global diabetes sales decreased 6.9% to €1,294 million, due to declining Lantus (glargine) sales in the US following loss of patent protection.

The company has forecast a 3-5% increase in earnings per share for 2019.

“I am pleased with the strong start in 2019 as we sustained our new growth phase and delivered business EPS growth of 9.4%,” said Sanofi’s CEO Olivier Brandicourt. “We executed on key launches in Specialty Care led by the impressive uptake of Dupixent in atopic dermatitis and asthma and also delivered strong growth in Vaccines.

“At the same time, our new GBU structure enabled us to optimize our growth opportunity in China & Emerging Markets and to adapt to the pressures in Primary Care.

“Based on our performance in the first quarter, we remain confident in the growth outlook for our business over the rest of the year despite challenging industry dynamics.”

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