Sanofi-Aventis this morning said it would be raising its full-year sales and earnings forecast on better-than-expected savings from the 2004 takeover of Germany’s Aventis by the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Synthelabo [[23/08/04c]].

Adjusted pro forma net income for the second quarter improved by 26% to 1.55 billion euros as the company saw more immediate cost savings than it had previously anticipated: it is now on track to realise savings of 1.2 billion euros this year, up from previous estimates of 960 million euros [[01/03/05c]]. The positive trend was also driven by strong sales of Sanofi-Aventis’ top two drugs – the clotbuster Lovenox (enoxaparin) and the blood-thinning agent Plavix (clopidogrel) – pushing the second quarter figure up 6.5% to 6.7 billion euros. The company is facing patent challenges to these flagship drugs [[17/06/05c]], [[08/08/05c]], but is hoping that it will be able to plug the gap in its fortunes with up and coming therapies – including its antiobesity therapy Acomplia (rimonabant), an insomnia treatment called eplivanserin and alvocidib, an anticancer agent. Acomplia is expected to hit the market next year [[23/06/05f]], while the two latter therapies will move into late-stage development during 2006 alongside two additional agents.

Full year earnings per share are now expected to jump 20%, compared with previous guidance of 18%, while net sales are forecast to come in ahead of the world pharmaceutical growth rate. “This,” says the firm, “takes account of substantial expenditure in preparation for the launch of Acomplia, the launch costs of Ambien CR, and increased spending on clinical trials, all of which are expected to be incurred in the second half of the year.”