March 20, 2013 / 3:57 PM / 4 years ago

STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Sanofi hits 7-year high on drug hopes

Shares in French drugmaker Sanofi rise 2.8 percent to a fresh 7-year high, making them one of the biggest gainers among European blue chips, as traders cite speculation the group could soon get a positive recommendation from European regulators for its multiple sclerosis pill Aubagio.

"The recent rally might be because of the monthly meeting of experts from the European Medicine Agency, which is currently happening in London. Aubagio is supposed to receive a recommendation from these experts in the first quarter," a Paris-based trader says.

"Aubagio's approval in Europe would represent 200 million euros ($257.7 million) in terms of peak sales, but it would certainly increase confidence in the entire multiple sclerosis franchise, with Lemtrada due to be accepted in the second quarter in Europe and in the second half of the year in the United States."

Sanofi adds the most points to the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index , while rival healthcare stocks Novartis and Roche also advance by 1.7 and 1 percent respectively.

Sanofi officials were not immediately available for comment.

Reuters Messaging: blaise.robinson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

Reuters Messaging: sudip.kargupta.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ($1 = 0.7760 euros)

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