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Sanofi targets growth from new drug push

The logo of Sanofi is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Sanofi on Thursday pledged further increases in full-year profits, helped by new drug launches and reorganisation efforts.

The French drugmaker said it expected net income to increase by 3-5 percent in 2019 as it posted slightly higher-than-expected quarterly earnings powered once again by its rare diseases Genzyme unit.

Sanofi, whose struggle to find new products has weighed on previous earnings as diabetes patents expired, is placing hopes on the success of its new rare blood disorder franchise and a continued upswing for its eczema treatment Dupixent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday it had approved Sanofi's drug to treat a life-threatening autoimmune disorder characterized by clot formation in small blood vessels.

The treatment was originally developed by Ablynx, a Belgium biotech firm that Sanofi acquired in January last year for 3.9 billion euros ($4.43 billion) just after snatching U.S. haemophilia specialist Bioverativ for $11.6 billion.

Sanofi's fourth-quarter business net income was up 4.3 percent at constant exchange rates to 1.36 billion euros, while revenue rose 3.9 percent to 9 billion. Sales at Genzyme surged 37.4 percent.

Analysts polled by Reuters in partnership with Infront Data had on average been expecting a business net income of 1.32 billion euros on sales of 8.9 billion.

($1 = 0.8803 euros)

($1 = 0.8807 euros)

(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Laurence Frost)