Sanofi profits drop by a third yet it insists patent cliff is over

Julian Harris
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PHARMACEUTICALS giant Sanofi yesterday assured investors that it is ready to bounce back with a range of new products, after patent expiries saw net profits plummet by 33.5 per cent in the first quarter.

Sales were down to €8.06bn (£6.79bn), a 5.4 per cent fall, as the firm lost exclusivity on products such as Plavix, Avapro and Eloxatin in the US.

Net income was €1.6bn, over a third lower than the year-ago period. “However, our growth platforms continue to deliver strong results with diabetes, vaccines, and Genzyme all achieving double-digit growth,” chief executive Christopher Viehbacher said, pointing to regulatory approval in Europe for three new treatments.

“Moreover, we look forward to the Phase III data releases for several pipeline projects later this year,” he added, remaining upbeat over clinical trials of new Sanofi drugs.

The firm said it expects to return to growth in the second half of 2013.

It was boosted in quarter one by a 6.5 per cent rise in revenues from emerging markets, where sales reached €2.72bn. These markets now account for 33.7 per cent of group sales, the results said.

As well as looking to new shores to drive growth, Sanofi is hoping that its diabetes treatments continue to reap rewards.

Lantus, a long-acting insulin, helped Sanofi record a 19.6 per cent increase in revenues from diabetes, earning €1.5bn.

Exchange rate movements have had a negative effect of 2.5 percentage points on Sanofi’s first quarter sales, the company added. The euro rose to $1.36 by the end of January, yet has fallen back since.