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Dupixent bounce-back helps stem diabetes declines at Sanofi

CEO Brandicourt says Sanofi will “enter a new growth phase”

Oliver Brandicourt

A sudden uptick in sales of atopic dermatitis drug Dupixent helped offset a steep decline in diabetes sales at Sanofi in the second quarter, and chief executive Olivier Brandicourt (pictured) is now anticipating a return to growth.

Overall sales at the French pharma group fell almost 6% to €8.3bn ($bn), pegged back by unfavourable exchange rates but also a further 21% drop for Lantus (insulin glargine) due to generic competition, which dragged diabetes sales down 12% to €1.36bn in the quarter.

However, the impact of patent losses on big-selling brands peaked in the last quarter, according to Brandicourt, who said Sanofi is expecting “to enter…a new growth phase led by our increasing focus on specialty care and our leadership positions in emerging markets and vaccines.”

Leading the charge in the specialty care category this quarter was Regeneron-partnered Dupixent (dupilumab), which has had a lumpy start since its launch last year with first quarter sales dipping below the level of the last quarter of 2017. It’s bounced back in the second quarter with a €176m tally, mostly from the US but also with  €16m contribution from first European markets particularly Germany.

Sanofi had blamed the earlier decline on trade inventory reductions, and says these are now at normal levels and that demand for the product “remains strong” with prescriptions rising 27% in the quarter.

Another Regeneron-partnered drug – and another key component for Sanofi’s specialty medicines drive – is cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitor Praluent (alirocumab), and while sales rose 55% year-on-year to €62m the uptick is still slow, rising from €49m in the first quarter despite Sanofi’s efforts to won over US payers, for example offering improved rebates for formulary access.

At the moment, Sanofi is losing out in the PCSK9 inhibitor market to rival Amgen, whose Repatha (evolocumab) made second quarter sales of $148m, also well shy of early projections. Meanwhile, there was also disappointment with rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara (sarilumab), off to a sluggish start with second quarter sales of just €20m.

Rare disease unit Genzyme had a good quarter, with sales up 6% to €743m, but vaccines business Sanofi Pasteur was under pressure with sales falling almost 16% to €811m due to continuing supply constraints for its Pentaxim childhood immunisation in China.

A bright point was the rare blood disorder business bolted on with the $11.6bn acquisition of Bioverativ, up 15.5% on a pro forma basis to €257m, and Sanofi is hoping that the €3.9bn takeover of antibody specialist Ablynx and lead rare disease drug caplacizumab will also pay off in the years to come.

Article by
Phil Taylor

31st July 2018

From: Sales

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