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Drug firm sees profits improve


Higher sales on a range of its major drug lines saw the net profit of Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis rise 4.9% in the second quarter of the year.

Sanofi posted profits of £920,000 million in the April to June period, up from the £870,000 million seen 12 months earlier.

The company put its improved performance down to increased sales of its diabetes drug Lantus, as well as blood thinners Lovenox and Plavix.

The firm is expected to increase its forecast for earnings per share growth this year from 7% to 10%, according to a statement by chief executive Chris Viehbacher.

The positive results come after Sanofi-Aventis took control of Indian vaccines maker Shantha Biotechnics in a deal worth £474 million, strengthened its position in emerging markets as sales in more established markets such as the US and Europe slow.

Shantha has been concentrating on developing vaccines for the potentially fatal childhood flu bug rotavirus, as well as conjugated typhoid and HPV, the virus linked to cervical cancer.

It is thought that Sanofi is trying to boost its new drugs development in order to replace a number of blockbusters that will soon come off patent and face competition from generic copies.

Copyright Press Association 2009


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