Sanofi has posted a 26.3% leap in fourth-quarter income, largely because of lower charges relating to multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), which it snapped up with the purchase of Genzyme in 2011.

The French drugmaker booked net profit of 1.34 billion euros for the period, while business net income - which excludes the impact of restructuring, divestments, litigation and other extraordinary items - grew 0.8% to 1.8 billion euros.

Net sales were up 7.3% at 9.1 billion euros, helped by 22% growth (at constant exchange rates) in revenues from Genzyme (746 million euros), an 11% rise across its diabetes platform (to 2 billion euros), and a 16.2% jump in turnover of vaccines (1.2 billion euros).

Overall, its pharmaceuticals business inched up 2.6% to 7.4 billion euros, driven by 10.8% growth in sales of diabetes drug Lantus (insulin glargine) to 1.8 billion euros, while sales of its rare diseases portfolio grew nearly 10% to 584 million.

2015 sales up 2.5%

For the full year, Sanofi reported group sales of 33.8 billion euros, up 2.5%, business net income of 6.8 billion euros, up 2.4%, and a 3.0% rise in business EPS to 5.20 euros.

Looking forward, 2015 business EPS are expected to be stable to slightly growing versus 2014 at constant average exchange rates, barring major unforeseen adverse events. 

The Paris-based group also reportedly said it was close to naming (sometime this quarter) its new chief executive, after having sacked Christopher Viehbacher last October because of disagreement over his management style and lack of cooperation.