Sanofi continues sales growth in fourth quarter, as profit more than doubles

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

Prescription drug sales

6.3 billion euros ($7.1 billion)

+2.6%

Revenue

9 billion euros ($10.2 billion; forecasts of 8.9 billion euros)

+3.5%

Profit

254 million euros ($288 million)

+101.6%

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"In the fourth quarter, we continued the momentum of the previous quarter and we delivered 5 percent full-year business [earnings per share] growth, at the high end of our guidance," remarked CEO Olivier Brandicourt. The executive added "we executed on important launches including Dupixent, Libtayo and Cablivi, as the headwinds from our US [loss of exclusivities] began to moderate."

Other results:

  • Genzyme unit: 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion), up 36 percent, led by immunology and rare blood disorder franchises
  • Diabetes and cardiovascular business unit: 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion), down 6.7 percent
    • Lantus: 866 million euros ($981 million), down 19.5 percent
    • Toujeo: 211 million euros ($239 million), down 2.3 percent
  • Aubagio: 446 million euros ($505 million), up 14.7 percent
  • Dupixent: 280 million euros ($317 million), up 137.3 percent
  • Praluent: 82 million euros ($93 million), up 54.7 percent
  • Vaccines division: 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), up 10.3 percent, driven by a successful influenza differentiation strategy and Menactra
  • Emerging markets: 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion), up 6 percent on a constant currency basis, reflecting strong performance in Asia
  • Full-year prescription drug sales: 24.7 billion euros ($28 billion), down 1.9 percent
  • Full-year revenue: 34.5 billion euros ($39.1 billion), down 1.7 percent
  • Full-year profit: 4.3 billion euros ($4.9 billion), down 48.8 percent

Looking ahead:

Sanofi expects business earnings per share to grow between 3 percent and 5 percent on a constant currency basis, with positive currency impacts estimated to be between 1 percent and 2 percent.

Brandicourt indicated that Sanofi still has room for further acquisitions in 2019, but only in strategic areas, with the company being financially strictly disciplined.

Pipeline update:

Sanofi disclosed that it halted mid-stage development of ALX0171, an anti-RSV nanobody for respiratory syncitial virus (RSV), which was gained via last year's purchase of Ablynx. At the time of the acquisition, the company noted that ALX0171 is "very complementary" to its own RSV programmes.

According to Sanofi, it is also scrapping a Phase III study of the anti-PD-1 therapy Libtayo (cemiplimab) in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb's CTLA4 inhibitor Yervoy (ipilimumab) as a first-line treatment for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer with PD-L1 expression of at least 50 percent.

Sanofi also said Thursday that Phase II development was halted for the TRKA antagonist GZ389988 in osteoarthritis, the GLP-1/GCGR agonist SAR425899 in obesity in type 2 diabetes patients and the rho kinase inhibitor SAR407899 for microvascular angina. Further, early-stage programmes discontinued include SAR439794, a TLR4 agonist immunomodulatory evaluated in peanut allergy, the anti- protofibrillar AB mAb for Alzheimer's disease SAR228810 and UshStat, a myosin 7A gene therapy for Usher Syndrome 1B.

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