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Sanofi profits jump in first quarter

Published on 05/05/06 at 01:12pm

Sanofi-Aventis has recorded a major increase in its profits in the first three months of 2006, boosted by product growth and the sale of Exubera to Pfizer.

The company's net profits, adjusted for Sanofi's merger with Aventis in 2004, were E2.2bn ($2.4bn; 1.5bn pounds) over the period, up 54% compared to last year.

Even excluding the one-off $1.3 billion boost from the sales of inhaled insulin product Exubera, the French company's net profits rose by 20%.

The company's fastest growing brand in the period was its insulin analogue Lantus, which posted E382 million sales, up 56%.

Sanofi's two biggest sellers, anti-coagulation products Lovenox and Plavix also continued their strong growth, with increases of 16% and 21% respectively.

The overall positive outlook was achieved despite the rapid loss of sales in two post-patent brands, diabetes drug Amaryl and hay fever product Allegra.

The company also passed two major milestones in the period - negotiating an out of court settlement with generic competitors to Plavix (thereby securing revenue until 2011) and the partial approval of Acomplia in Europe.

As in the US, Acomplia has not been cleared in Europe for use one of its two indications - smoking cessation - but has been approved for the other, as a weight loss/cardiovascular drug.

Analysts remain confident the drug can still reach blockbuster status with just one indication, but Sanofi-Aventis is determined to eventually gain a second licence for the drug.




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