Sanofi surprises in Q2 with strong MS sales, AZ slides on generic competition
- Pharma giants Sanofi and AstraZeneca announced quarterly earnings on Thursday.
- Sanofi beat analyst estimates with business net income of $2.02 billion and 1.41 euros-per-share, versus consensus estimates of about 1.32 euros-per-share. AstraZeneca's Q2 net income fell 12% to $697 million while revenues dropped 6.7% to $6.31 billion.
- Sanofi's stronger-than-expected performance was driven by robust sales of its multiple sclerosis drugs (which nearly doubled in sales) and growth in its vaccines unit (despite a continued decline in its diabetes franchise thanks to the patent loss of Lantus). AZ was mostly hurt by generic competition—a persistent problem for the company now that it has lost market exclusivity for flagship products like Crestor and Nexium.
It's been a heady couple of years for Sanofi between flagging diabetes sales and tumult in the company's C-suite after the ouster of former CEO Chris Viehbacher. But in recent weeks, the company's gotten some good news while making some aggressive moves to secure its future.
First, Sanofi won the first-ever U.S. approval of a PCSK9 cholesterol-lowering drug, Praluent. And the company wasn't shy about slapping a huge price point on the drug (nearly $15,000 per year). Then, Sanofi announced that it would be getting into the red-hot cancer immunotherapy game by striking a collaboration deal with Regeneron. And finally, the company's investigational dengue vaccine (which executives like Sanofi's president of North American pharma hailed as a potential game-changer in an exclusive interview with BioPharma Dive) showed some strong results in an early-stage trial, while the diabetes med LixiLan hit its goals in a late-stage trial.
Sanofi and AZ shares were both up modestly in morning trading Thursday.