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Dupixent dulls pain of diabetes slump at Sanofi

Biosimilar competition caused steep declines in its flagship product Lantus

Sanofi

Accelerating sales of Sanofi’s new atopic dermatitis drug Dupixent helped to offset steep declines in flagship diabetes drug Lantus, which was hit by biosimilar competition in the third quarter.

Sales were up fractionally (but rising almost 5% if corrected for currency fluctuations) to reach €9.05bn, below analyst expectations, with Regeneron-partnered Dupixent (dupilumab) adding €75m in the quarter and more than €100m since its launch in the US in March. The group was also lifted by its asset swap with Boehringer Ingelheim, which expanded its consumer health operations.

The performance of Dupixent isn’t quite living up to early growth trajectory expectations, but analysts are still predicting €5bn in peak sales if the drug can add additional approvals in indications such as uncontrolled asthma.

Meanwhile Lantus (insulin glargine) fell almost 16% to €1.12bn thanks to continued take-up of biosimilar versions from the likes of Eli Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck & Co/Samsung Bioepis dragging Sanofi's whole diabetes franchise down 10%. Long-acting variant Toujeo provided some succour, rising 23% to €198m.

The diabetes decline was not as bad as had been predicted, but Sanofi’s cardiovascular drugs also suffered in this period, with sales of new cholesterol drug Praluent (alirocumab) still sluggish thanks to restricted payer coverage in the US and limited access in Europe.

New rheumatoid arthritis therapy Kevzara (sarilumab), an IL-6 inhibitor predicted to become a $1bn-plus product despite entering a fairly crowded market, was approved in the US in May and EU in June and registered a modest €3m in sales with launches in the US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Sanofi chief executive Olivier Brandicourt said Dupixent - along with gains for multiple sclerosis drugs including oral therapy Aubagio (teriflunomide) and paediatric vaccines such as Pentacel - were “important drivers” in the quarter.

Shares in the company fell on the announcement however, with Sanofi suggesting the diabetes franchise decline would gather momentum in the fourth quarter. It kept to its earlier guidance of flat earnings for 2017.

Article by
Phil Taylor

2nd November 2017

From: Sales

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