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Dupixent helps put Sanofi back on growth track

French drugs giant sees an 8% rise in vaccine sales

Sanofi

Sanofi had pledged a return to growth in the third quarter after a long run of declines caused by patent losses, and delivered on its promise thanks to a surge in sales for atopic dermatitis drug Dupixent.

Dupixent (dupilumab) – which has also just been approved for asthma – saw sales almost triple to €225m in the three-month period, helping Sanofi’s net sales grow 2.1% to just under €9.4bn even as its diabetes franchise continued to slump on generic competition.

Gains for vaccine division Sanofi Pasteur and the company’s specialty medicines division, which along with Dupixent includes Genzyme’s rare disease drugs and multiple sclerosis therapies like Aubagio (teriflunomide), contributed to what chief executive Olivier Brandicourt called a “new growth phase” for the company.

Buoyed by an 8% rise in vaccine sales and a 9% increase for Genzyme, Sanofi also lifted its earnings forecasts for the year, sparking a 5% increase in its share price in early trading this morning.

The gathering pace for Regeneron-partnered Dupixent is a relief for Sanofi after a lumpy commercial start, and comes on the back of its launch in 13 countries, including the UK in the last quarter, and higher turnover outside the US.

Approval is asthma could help drive sales of the drug above the $7.5bn mark, according to Leerink analysts, as it is the only asthma biologic that patients can self-administer at home. They think the asthma indication could be worth $2.5bn on its own, although it’s a crowded market with GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala (mepolizumab), Teva’s Cinqair (reslizumab) and AstraZeneca’s Fasenra (benralizumab) all jostling for market share.

Meanwhile, Sanofi and development partner Regeneron have also just reported new data in patients with rhinosinusitis and nasal polyps which could expand its use further.

Brandicourt is also hoping for new sales momentum from two new product approvals – checkpoint inhibitor Libtayo (cemiplimab) for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) and Cablivi (caplacizumab) for acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura – which will further bulk up its speciality medicines business.

While the slump in diabetes sales was expected, there were some other dull spots in the third-quarter figures. Another Regeneron-partnered drug – Kevzara (sarilumab) for rheumatoid arthritis – continues to struggle however with glacial growth since its approval in the middle of last year, adding €22m in the third quarter, mostly from the US.

Meanwhile, cholesterol-lowerer Praluent (alirocumab) sales came in at €68m in the quarter – up 64% year-on-year but still way below initial expectations, largely as a result of a reluctance among payers to stump up the premium over other drugs.

Sanofi and partner Regeneron cut the price of Praluent earlier this year to try to overcome that resistance, and Amgen has just followed suit for its Repatha (evolocumab) rival in the US. However, both these drugs are facing the threat of competition from new oral therapies such as Esperion’s bempedoic acid, which could be filed for approval in early 2019, and Alnylam/The Medicine Company’s inclisiran which is in phase 3

Article by
Phil Taylor

31st October 2018

From: Sales

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