Company news: Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Roche

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Sanofi announced Thursday that losing CV drugs Plavix and Avapro to the generic market shrunk second-quarter sales by $409.5 million. The company said the loss tracks with its expectations. The drugs went generic in May. Despite the drop, the company pulled off an increase of 6.2% in sales, reaching $10.9 billion for the quarter, compared to $10.3 billion for the same period last year. Pharmaceutical sales fell 0.4% to $9.2 billion, compared to the same period last year. The division's strongest sellers included diabetes med Lantus, which hit $1.5 billion in sales for the quarter. Rare-disease drug Fabrazyme also recouped its status after manufacturing problems sidelined sales, rising 123.3% to $91 million, compared to the same period last year.

AstraZeneca's second-quarter results echoed that of its peers: generics are taking a big bite. The company announced Thursday that revenues for the period ended June 30 are down 21% (18% at a constant exchange rate), to $6.6 billion, compared to $8.4 billion for the same period last year. Among the pain points were the anti-psychotic Seroquel, which saw US sales fall almost 58% to $647 million, compared to $1.5 billion for the same period the year before. Seroquel IR sales were down 75%, at $277 million for the quarter, compared to $1.2 billion for the same period last year, and Seroquel XR sales stumbled, falling 1%, to $370 million compared to $387 million for the same period last year. New oral diabetes med Ongylza provided a buffer of sorts, with sales rising by almost 72% to $79 million, compared to $46 million for the same period in 2011. Interim CEO Simon Lowth said in a statement that the company is on track to hit its targets for the year.

Roche confirmed during its Thursday earnings call that it will meet its 2012 projections. The statement was accompanied by the second-quarter results that included a 4% gain in sales, to $23 billion, compared to $22 billion for the same period last year. Pharmaceutical division sales rose 4%, compared to the same period last year, and diagnostics sales increased 4%. The company said restructuring its research arm and closing the Nutley, NJ, plant will save about $380 million a year, with the savings to be funneled into pipeline development.
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