Sanofi has posted financials for the first quarter this morning which show that earnings and sales rose, although it repeated earlier guidance that 2012 profits will be down 15% due to generics.

Turnover rose 9.4% to 8.51 billion euros, while business net income, which excludes items, increased 12% to 2.44 billion euros. Pharmaceuticals were up 8.8% to 7.32 billion euros, a healthy result given the scale of generic competition to key products.

The antithrombotic Lovenox (enoxaparin) saw sales fall 10.5% to 526 million euros, while the bloodthinner Plavix (clopidogrel), partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb, brought in 505 million euros to Sanofi’s coffers, down just 0.2%, despite generics hitting European sales by 18.6%. Patent expiries meant that the cancer drug Taxotere (docetaxel) slumped 61.8% to 150 million euros, while the antihypertensive Avapro/Avalide/Karvea (irbesartan) also partnered with B-MS, fell 18.1% to 404 million euros.

On the bright side, the Paris-headquartered firm's diabetes division contributed 1.31 billion euros (+14.4%), and Lantus (insulin glargine) made up 1.12 billion euros of that, a rise of 17.2%. The new anti-arrhythmic Multaq (dronedarone) brought in 63 million euros, down 3.2%, while sales of Jevtana (cabazitaxel) for prostate cancer came in at 54 million euros, an increase of 10.4%.

Sales of the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin) were up 96.3% to 384 million euros. The latter rise was due to Sanofi winning a patent battle in September with India's Sun Pharmaceuticals that will keep generic versions of Eloxatin off the US market until August 2012.

Sales at Sanofi’s vaccines division dipped 0.2% to 617 billion euros, while the consumer healthcare business brought in 805 million euros (+11.4%). Revenues from the generics unit rose 6.5% to 439 million euros.

Strong growth at Genzyme

As for the financials at recently-acquired Genzyme Corp, revenues grew 13.7% to $400 million. Cerezyme (imiglucerase) for Gaucher disease was up 5.8% to $149 million and Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta) for Fabry disease increased 50.0% to $47 million. Supplies of the two therapies are slowly recovering from  the temporary closure of the firm's Allston Landing, Boston facility in June 2009. Sales of Lumizyme/Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa) for Pompe disease grew 17.0% to $112 million.

Chief executive Chris Viehbacher (pictured) noted that "although, as expected, Plavix will lose exclusivity in May in the USA, the strong underlying performance of the business is consistent with our medium-term growth outlook". Sanofi was also pleased with its performance in the emerging markets, where sales were up 9.9% to 2.62 billion euros.