The logo of Sanofi is seen at the company’s research and production centre in Vitry-sur-Seine, France, August 6, 2019.

Charles Platiau | Reuters

Sanofi raised its 2020 earnings forecast on Wednesday after its second-quarter results were boosted by cost cuts and the sale of most of its 20.6% stake in U.S. company Regeneron, although revenue was hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The French drugmaker said it was now targeting earnings per share growth of 6-7% this year, up from 5%.

The company, which is working on two vaccines aimed at preventing COVID-19, also said it had struck a deal to supply up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine being developed with GlaxoSmithKline to Britain.

Sanofi announced a new strategy in December, and is shifting from a generalist pharmaceutical company to a leaner business centered around vaccines, rare diseases and oncology.

The company has ended diabetes and cardiovascular research and is boosting its internal pipeline of drugs, aiming to make savings and deliver a strong increase in profits by 2022.

Second-quarter net income was up 5.6% at constant exchange rates to 1.6 billion euros ($1.9 billion). Sanofi achieved 990 million euros of cost cuts in the first half and made $11.7 billion in May from selling shares in Regeneron. The money is expected to be spent on innovation and bolt-on acquisitions.

Revenue, however, was down 3.4% in the quarter at 8.2 billion euros. Sales of vaccines were down 6.8% as coronavirus lockdowns hit international travel.

Sales at Sanofi’s consumer healthcare business also fell down 8% after a jump in the first quarter when buyers stocked up on painkillers as the pandemic took hold.

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