Sanofi-Aventis has posted financials for the first quarter this morning which show that net profit was down 28.9% to 1.22 billion euros, battered by generic competition, while the much-reduced contribution of pandemic flu sales led to a dip in sales.

The French drugmaker stressed that its 'business' net income, ie adjusted earnings excluding items, fell 10.6% to 2.17 billion euros, while sales were down 1.5% to 7.78 billion euros. Pharmaceuticals declined 1.6% to 6.58 billion euros reflecting the entry of competition to the antithrombotic Lovenox (enoxaparin) in the USA, which saw sales fall 26.5% to 583 million euros.

Sanofi is also suffering generic competition in Europe to the bloodthinner Plavix (clopidogrel), partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb, which brought in 484 million euros to Sanofi’s coffers, down 14.4%. Patent expiries meant that the cancer drug Taxotere (docetaxel) slumped 31.6% to 382 million euros, while the Ambien (zolpidem) sleep franchise sank 52% to  116 million euros.

On the bright side, the Paris-headquartered firm's diabetes division contributed 1.11 billion euros (+10.5%), and Lantus (insulin glargine) made up 925 million euros of that, a rise of 13.2%. The new anti-arrhythmic Multaq (dronedarone) brought in 63 million euros, while sales of Jevtana (cabazitaxel) for prostate cancer  came in at 48 million euros.

Regarding its older products, the antihypertensive Avapro/Avalide/Karvea (irbesartan) also partnered with B-MS,  fell 4.3% to 320 million euros, ,while sales of the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin) were up 172.7% to 188 million euros

Sales at Sanofi’s vaccines division were up 38.3% to 602 million euros, due to the lack of A/H1N1 vacciine sales in the quarter. The consumer healthcare business brought in 712 million euros (+40.3%) and generics revenues climbed 16.9% to 414 million euros.

Sanofi also announced separate financials for its recently-acquired Genzyme Corp which show first-quarter 2011 revenue grew 7% to just over $1.00 billion. Its "personalised genetic health business grew 11% to $436.9 million, with Cerezyme (imiglucerase) for Gaucher disease inching up 2.6% to $183.8 million and Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta) for Fabry disease falling 23.1% to $40.9 million. Supplies of the drugs have been severely affected by the temporary closure of the firm's Allston Landing, Boston facility in June 2009.

On the bright side, sales of  Lumizyme/Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa) for Pompe disease grew 47% to $126.8 million, driven by US sales of the therapy which was approved there in May 2010.