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Pharma news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news affecting the industry

Exubera gets go-ahead
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pfizer's inhaled insulin treatment, Exubera. Thanks to the news and the announcement last week that the company's cancer drug, Sutent has also been approved, Pfizer's shares rose 3.8 per cent to $25.99. Analysts are confident that US sales of Exubera will hit $750m in 2008, some $500m more than the $250m sales expected in Europe, where regulators approved the drug last week. European market potential is said to be significantly lower than in the US because of the reimbursement systems used in the region.

Double-digit growth for Norgine
Norgine has posted sales of Ä171m for 2005, a 10 per cent increase on figures for 2004. The increase marks the company's nineteenth year of double-digit growth. Movicol, the leading treatment in Europe for chronic constipation and faecal impaction, led the growth in sales with an increase of 24 per cent compared to 2004 figures.

Solid performance at S-A
sanofi-aventis has reported a strong performance in 2005, with full-year sales rising 9.3 per cent to Ä27.3bn. A 26.9 per cent increase (50.2 per cent increase for Q4) in sales in the company's vaccines business helped net sales reach the lower end of analysts' expectations. Revenues from the firm's top 15 selling products, such as Plavix and Lovenox rose 14 per cent. While sales in Europe were up 8.2 per cent on the same reporting period last year, sanofi-aventis said that policy reforms in France and reference pricing in Germany had reduced prices. The French company also suffered as generic rivals to Amaryl and Allegra entered the US market. sanofi-aventis faces further generic competition in 2006, with legal challenges to Plavix and Lovenox. However, this is expected to be offset by growth in its vaccines business following the most successful ever flu vaccination season in the US.

Western deals lure Ranbaxy
Ranbaxy is on the lookout for collaboration and acquisition opportunities in Europe and North America in its bid to reach annual sales of $2bn by 2007. Newly appointed chief executive, Malvinder Singh told the Financial Times that he would look to the West for possible tie-ups that are likely to centre on the firm's generics activities. However, he said he would approach potential deals with caution, as it is currently a ìseller's marketî where prices could spiral. Singh remains confident of strong growth in Japan, where the generics market is expected to double both in volume and value over the coming years.

Cracking the code
The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA), Pharmaceutical Marketing Society and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have joined forces to produce a joint workshop on March 1 to review and explore the implications of the revamped ABPI Code of Practice. Senior figures who were instrumental in developing the new code will be giving their views on the changes and there will also be an interactive forum to debate the impact of the new code on everyday practices in the industry. For a full agenda and registration form, please go to www.hca-uk.org.

30th September 2008

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