Despite foundering Dengvaxia launch, Sanofi puts up 13.2% vaccines growth in Q1

Sanofi's headquarters in Paris
Sanofi posted 13.2% vaccine sales growth in the first quarter thanks to strong performances from pediatric combination vaccines.

Sanofi’s vaccines business leaned on strong performances from pediatric, flu and travel shots on the way to 13.2% growth in the first quarter—because it certainly couldn't depend on the foundering dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Together, Sanofi’s vaccines brought in €784 million ($856 million) for the period, boosted by polio, pertussis and Hib vaccines, which leapt 38% to €432 million. A supply rebound for Pentacel and new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordering accounted for the surge, the drugmaker reported.

Alternatively, Sanofi’s adult booster vaccines and meningitis and pneumonia portfolio fell by 23.2% and 24.6%, respectively, hurt by a supply interruption in Europe for the DTap combo shot Repevax and last year’s CDC purchasing for Menactra, a meningococcal vaccine. All of the figures are reported in constant exchange rates and constant structure.

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Sanofi Pasteur’s overall growth figure was enough to beat each of the drugmaker’s other business units except for rare disease outfit Genzyme, which continued its growth wave with a 15.5% quarterly hike. Diabetes and cardiovascular sales fell by 7.7%, while general medicines/emerging markets and consumer healthcare each posted low-single-digit percentage increases in sales.

Execs didn’t discuss the ongoing Dengvaxia launch on the first-quarter call with analysts. The shot, which Sanofi spent $1.5 billion and 20 years developing, brought in €17 million on the period as the Philippines continues its public vaccination program. In all of last year, the dengue fever vaccine turned in just €55 million in global sales.

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The vaccine has notched more than a dozen approvals around the world but hasn’t been included in nationwide vaccination programs outside of the Philippines. Takeda is chasing Sanofi with a phase 3 candidate of its own.

Sanofi’s 13.2% vaccines sales growth fell short of rival GlaxoSmithKline’s 16% vaccines sales increase during the first quarter, with that company’s sales figure boosted by meningitis B shot Bexsero.

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In China, Sanofi Pasteur was able to rebound following last year’s logistics overhaul stemming from the high-profile vaccine safety scandal in the country. Last year, Sanofi Pasteur EVP David Loew said China’s new supply chain requirements would have an “unprecedented impact” that would last four to six months.

Now, the company says the recovery is coming along and that its Acxim pediatric combo shot grew 19% for the period.