Sanofi’s profit rose more than expected last quarter, powered by sales of vaccines and newcomer Dupixent, an eczema and asthma drug set to become a blockbuster. The stock had its biggest gain so far this year.
Sanofi is counting on growth drivers like the versatile Dupixent, which awaits approval in nasal polyps and is undergoing tests for lung disease, to replace aging diabetes medicine Lantus. At the same time, research chief John Reed is hunting for opportunities in cancer after Sanofi missed out on the recent wave of revolutionary medicines focused on the immune system. Two acquisitions have delivered new experimental therapies for bleeding disorders.
“We believe the pipeline offers intriguing optionality, overlooked by many,”
Peter Welford, an analyst at Jefferies in London, wrote in a note to clients.
“Stronger Dupixent is positive given its long-term importance.”
Sanofi rose as much as 4 percent in Paris trading, its steepest gain since October, to 76.64 euros.
Sanofi has said it’s accelerating 17 programs — almost half in cancer — and dropping more than a dozen others under development, including two in diabetes.
First-quarter earnings excluding some items rose 11 percent to 1.42 euros a share in the first quarter, the French drugmaker said in a statement. Analysts predicted 1.32 euros. The company maintained its forecast for 2019.