AZ raises forecast; Sanofi reports 'bloodbath'

More big earnings news today, with the undisputed winner being AstraZeneca, which raised its 2008 forecast and trounced analyst expectations for the quarter. Not so lucky: Sanofi-Aventis, whose earnings suffered on the weak dollar. Here's more:

  • Bayer posted a 13 percent drop in profits, but still beat the Street's forecast. Sales rose 3.6 percent to €8.51 billion. The healthcare unit reported a 6.6 percent increase in revenue, helped by a 90 percent leap in sales of the cancer treatment Nexavar, and big growth for contraceptives Mirena and Yasmin, and the multiple-sclerosis med Betaferon.
  • Allergan didn't suffer much from lower-than-expected sales of Botox and other meds; its sales rose 20 percent to $1.16 billion, and profits climbed to $147.3 million from $138 million a year ago.
  • AstraZeneca posted a 9 percent boost to sales to $7.96 billion, as the cholesterol med Crestor, asthma treatment Symbicort, and antipsychotic med Seroquel grew by more than 10 percent each. Nexium, the heartburn treatment, and heart med Toprol XL continued to lose sales, however, to generic competition. In emerging markets, overall revenues grew by 20 percent to $1.15 billion.
  • Sanofi-Aventis saw profits drop by 4 percent to €1.61 billion, as sales dropped almost the same amount to €6.69 billion. Currency losses outweighed increasing sales of big drugs such as the Lantus insulin injection and breast cancer med Taxotere. The company also discontinued development on four drugs. One analyst called the report a "bloodbath."
  • Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical saw its first-ever operating loss this quarter on costs from its $8.8 billion acquisition of Millennium Pharmaceuticals. The drugmaker saw a loss of $251.7 million (¥27.18 billion) on an 8.3 percent rise in revenues to 396.88 billion.
  • Daiichi Sankyo saw sales drop for the quarter, to ¥203.73 billion from ¥235.54 billion a year ago. Net income dropped, too, to ¥25.08 billion from 41.41 billion. The company also announced a procedural delay in its buyout of India's Ranbaxy Laboratories, as the companies await regulatory approval there.

- see the Bayer numbers in the Wall Street Journal
- check out Allergan's report in the Los Angeles Times
- read the Financial Times news on AstraZeneca
- find Sanofi's earnings at MarketWatch
- get Takeda's figures in Forbes
- see the RTT News piece on Daiichi