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Sanofi earns soar on lower restructuring costs

PARIS — Sanofi, the French drug maker, said Thursday that its earnings soared in the fourth quarter as lower restructuring costs offset a hefty charge related to one of its key multiple sclerosis treatments.

Net profit was $1.4 billion, up from $527.2 million a year earlier. Last year’s profit was hammered by restructuring costs.

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Sanofi took a $831.5 million charge to account for the Food and Drug Administration’s ruling in December that the multiple sclerosis treatment Lemtrada is not ready for US approval. Sanofi said it will miss its March target date for US approval.

Earnings by Sanofi’s preferred measure — business earnings per share at constant exchange rates — fell 9.8 percent last year. It forecast growth by this measure of 4 to 7 percent this year.

Sanofi wants to market Lemtrada as a treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis, a disease in which the immune system attacks healthy nerves.

The drug was approved by the European Medicines Agency last year and has been approved in Canada and Australia. The FDA said that Sanofi and its Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme unit had not submitted sufficient evidence to show Lemtrada’s benefits. Sanofi said Genzyme is preparing an appeal to the agency.

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