April 26, 2019 / 5:58 AM / 3 months ago

Genzyme and vaccines push up Sanofi's first-quarter results

FILE PHOTO: The Sanofi logo is seen at the company's Sanofi Pasteur headquarters in Lyon, France, October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Pratta/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Sanofi upheld a long-awaited return to growth on Friday with higher profits and revenues for the first quarter, once again led by a stellar sales increase at its rare diseases Genzyme unit.

The French drugmaker, which also posted a strong performance at its vaccines division and a new slide in diabetes confirmed its full-year outlook.

Pressure on pricing for high cholesterol treatment Praluent was expected to continue this year in the United States, chief financial officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon, told reporters.

Sanofi and its partner Regeneron said in February they planned to slash the U.S. list price of Praluent by 60 percent following a similar move by rival Amgen in hopes of convincing health insurers and benefit managers to adopt the drug.

Net income rose 9 percent to 1.77 billion euros (£1.5 billion) at constant exchange rates in the first quarter on sales of 8.4 billion.

Analysts polled by Reuters with Infront Data had forecast average net income of 1.67 billion euros and sales of 8.36 billion.

While Genzyme booked a 30.8 percent revenue increase, helped by strong uptake of its eczema drug Dupixent, sales of the diabetes and cardiovascular unit fell 17 percent as a result of lower demand for insulin products.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont ; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas

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