ImageSanofi-aventis, the world's third largest pharma company with sales of Euro 27.6 billion, has managed to improve its bottom line despite lower sales during the year ended December 2008. The company's net profit improved by 3.2 per cent to Euro 7,186 million from Euro 6,961 million in the previous year. Its net sales declined by 1.7 per cent to Euro 27,568 million from Euro 28,052 million. The earning per share improved to Euro 5.49 from Euro 5.17 in the previous year.

The company's sales in Europe declined by 0.7 per cent to Euro 12,096 million from Euro 12,184 million and that in US moved down by 9.1 per cent to Euro 8,609 million from Euro 9,474 million in the previous year mainly due to competition from generics of Ambien. However, its sales in other countries including Japan, increased by 7.3 per cent to Euro 6,863 million from Euro 6,394 million on account of success of Plavix and Myslee.

Full-year net sales for the Pharmaceuticals business declined by 2.1 per cent to Euro 24,707 million during the year ended December 2008 from Euro 25,247 million in the previous year. The impact of generics of Ambien IR in the United States and of Eloxatin in Europe pared around 2.2 points off growth. The sales of human vaccine moved up by 3 per cent to Euro 2,861 million from 2,778 million in the previous year. In the United States, 2008 full-year net sales were up 9.7 per cent at Euro 1,683 million. Net sales of influenza vaccines in 2008 rose 1.5 per cent to Euro 736 million.

The sales of its blockbuster product like Lovenox increased by 10.6 per cent to Euro 2,738 million, Plavix by 10.5 per cent to Euro 2,616 million, Lantus by 27.7 per cent to Euro 2,450 million, Taxotere by 13.2 per cent to Euro 2,033 million and Aprovel by 14.2 per cent to Euro 1,202 million. However, the sales of Eloxatin and Stilnox declined sharply by 5.7 per cent and 34.1 per cent respectively.

Sanofi is now redefining the decision-making process in R&D to better integrate the commercial perspective and the scope for value creation. Commenting on the objectives of the new programme, Chris Viehbacher, CEO, said, "Our ambition is to become a diversified global leader in healthcare, with one of the most productive R&D in the sector. Our objective is to deliver EPS growth ahead of current expectations of financial markets, while strengthening or building platforms for growth for 2012 and beyond."