(RTTNews) – Shares of Sanofi were gaining around 3 percent in Paris as well as on Nasdaq after the French drug maker reported Wednesday a strong increase in first-quarter business earnings per share. Sales also grew at constant exchange rates, driven by growth drivers Dupixent and Vaccines. Meanwhile, net earnings and sales for the quarter, on a reported basis, were lower.

Further, the company affirmed its full-year 2021 business earnings per share guidance, expecting to grow in high single digit at CER.

In the quarter, the company initiated and completed enrollment of Phase 2 study for recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and results are expected next month.

For the first quarter, net income attributable to equity holders declined 7 percent to 1.57 billion euros from 1.68 billion euros in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share fell 7.4 percent to 1.25 euros from 1.35 euros a year ago.

Quarterly business net income increased 5.1 percent year-over-year to 2.02 billion euros and increased 14.7 percent at CER.

Business earnings per share were 1.61 euros, up 5.2 percent on a reported basis and up 15.0 percent at CER.

Business operating income was 2.64 billion euros, a growth of 4 percent on a reported basis and 13.3 percent at CER. Business operating income margin increased 2.4 percentage points to 30.7 percent versus the prior year. Business operating income of Pharmaceuticals, meanwhile, decreased 4.6 percent and margin fell 0.7 percentage points. Business operating income of Vaccines increased 43.2 percent.

Quarterly sales were 8.59 billion euros, down 4.3 percent from 8.97 billion euros last year. At constant exchange rates, sales increased 2.4 percent.

Pharmaceutical sales increased 3.8 percent to 6.56 billion euros, with double-digit growth of the Specialty Care portfolio, which largely offset lower sales in General Medicines in Europe and the U.S.

Specialty Care sales grew 15.3 percent, due to 45.6 percent rise in Dupixent sales, despite the COVID-19 environment, as well as oncology launches.

Meanwhile, General Medicines sales were down 3.8 percent to 3.67 billion euros in the first quarter.

In the quarter, vaccines sales were up 5.3

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