Sanofi promises 7% vax sales growth for 2015, despite rocky Q1

Sanofi says it's poised to repeat the 7% growth its vaccines unit saw last year. But after battling through a slow quarter for influenza vaccine sales, it'll have some catching up to do for the remainder of the year if it wants to make that happen.

Thanks to two strain changes in the Southern Hemisphere, the company saw a delayed flu campaign and, as a result, a 4.6% drop in overall vaccines sales from last year's first quarter. Despite the slow start, though, Sanofi ($SNY) execs have pegged the vaccines unit to deliver a repeat 7% jump for the year.

To help it get there, Pentacel and Menactra in the U.S. and Pentaxim in China will need to keep up the strong performances they posted in Q1. On the quarter, sales of Polio/Pertussis/Hib vaccines increased 15.6% overall and 26.3% in the U.S. The group of vaccines saw a 32.2% sales increase in emerging markets, and Menactra sales grew 50% for the quarter due to "favorable CDC order phasing."

In fact, excluding flu sales, Sanofi Pasteur saw an overall 17.2% jump in revenue, which led Sanofi's CFO to tell investors on a conference call that he's "confident that Sanofi Pasteur will have another good year in 2015."

Sanofi CFO Jérôme Contamine

And that 7% growth prediction doesn't include sales from the rollout of the high-stakes dengue vaccine, which will begin this year. CEO Olivier Brandicourt reported on the earnings call that the company has begun regulatory submissions for the jab in endemic countries, and it expects the first licenses in Latin America and Asia in the second half of 2015. That vaccine has been 20 years and $1.5 billion worth of R&D in the making, and it could deliver an estimated $1 billion in sales per year by 2025, analysts have said.

- here's the release
- and the earnings call transcript and post-call interview