AZ, BMS, Bayer profits up as Sanofi's drop

A quartet of Big Pharma earnings came in over the last 24 hours, as Sanofi-Aventis, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bayer all reported their Q1 numbers. Novo Nordisk and UCB also posted their earnings. Earnings increased at AstraZeneca, Novo, Bayer and BMS, while Sanofi profits dropped. Here are the details.

  • AZ's profits got support from tax-related savings, which helped it overcome a three percent decline in sales to $8.29 billion. Generic competition for its breast cancer treatment Arimidex, asthma drug Pulmicort and heart drug Toprol took its toll, Reuters reports. But the company raised its full year earnings forecast again, to $6.95-$7.25, up from an earlier $6.45-$6.75. More good news: Emerging markets revenues grew by double digits. News | Report

  • Generics hurt Sanofi sales, too, taking a chunk out of the sales of five key drugs. Revenue growth also suffered on comparisons with last year's pandemic-fueled vaccine sales. Earnings came in at $3.23 billion, slightly higher than analysts had expected, Bloomberg reports. CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo) pointed to diversification efforts as an antidote to the current patent cliff suffering, including its recent purchase of rare-disease drugs maker Genzyme. Story | Article

  • BMS posted Street-beating earnings of 57 cents per share, or $986 million, on a four percent increase in net sales to $5.01 billion. Strong performing drugs included the clot-buster Plavix, with 6 percent growth; hepatitis B drug Baraclude, with 27 percent growth; and cancer treatment Sprycel, with 31 percent. News | Item

  • Bayer profits grew by 8.4 percent to €684 million ($1 billion) and sales leapt by 13.2 percent, but the CropSciences and MaterialScience units that led the way. Bayer's pharma business grew sales by just 4.7 percent to €2.65 billion ($3.92 billion), while the crops division boosted its revenues by 16 percent and materials by 21 percent. Report