Sanofi CEO: Vaccines business 'continues to deliver'

Sanofi continues to lean on its vaccines offerings as other areas struggle. The French pharma’s vaccines unit Sanofi Pasteur “continues to deliver” and posted “good growth” in Q1, CEO Olivier Brandicourt told investors in discussing the results.

Driven by increased sales for polio, pertussis and Hib vaccines in emerging markets and Menactra's performance in the U.S., Sanofi grew vaccine sales 8.2% to €625 million ($719 million) for the quarter. It did this despite battling Pentacel supply constraints in the U.S., where overall vaccine sales were down 17.3%.

During the quarter, Sanofi recorded its first Dengvaxia sales, which rang in at €19 million and came from an immunization campaign just getting underway in the Philippines. On the earnings call, Brandicourt noted that the company recently submitted a "dossier for approval” for the first-in-its-class dengue vaccine to European regulators.

That vaccine got a boost last month from a WHO committee recommendation that countries where dengue is prevalent incorporate it into a comprehensive strategy to control the virus. With four approvals in hand, Sanofi anticipates further Dengvaxia regulatory blessings and new announcements surrounding immunization strategies. Analysts have said the vaccine could reach $1.4 billion in sales by 2020.

During the quarter, Sanofi decided to call off its vaccines JV with Merck in Europe, a move executives explained will allow the company to “allocate our resources behind our brand where we continue to see strong potential.”

Last year, Sanofi Pasteur grew sales 15% to €4.74 billion. The unit’s performance holds importance at the French pharma, where other revenues such as those from the flagship diabetes franchise have suffered in recent years. Diabetes and cardiovascular sales at Sanofi were down 5.8% in Q1.

- here's the release
- and a transcript of the conference call from Seeking Alpha

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Pictured is a Sanofi Pasteur R&D lab technician, courtesy of CNW Group and Sanofi Pasteur.