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Poor Lantus sales sees Sanofi’s diabetes unit fall

French firm hit by insulin pricing pressures and soon faces biosimilar threat

Sanofi reception  

Sanofi has seen sales across its diabetes unit fall by more than 3% in the first quarter as its top-selling insulin Lantus faces mounting pricing pressures.

Lantus sales were down a large 5% to 1.58bn euros for the quarter - and this had a knock-on effect for its diabetes unit, which saw revenue drop 3.2% to 1.83 euros. 

This comes after Sanofi was forced earlier this year to cut the price of Lantus, currently the biggest-selling insulin product in the world, to compete with rival Novo Nordisk's insulin products in the US.

The firm had said last year that it expected its diabetes sales to remain stable in 2015, but now admits it revenue will likely fall across the unit. It has however had a boost in Europe after the European Commission this week approved its new Lantus follow up Toujeo, which should in the future help sure up falling Lantus sales.

But this also comes as Lilly is preparing to launch a biosimilar version of Lantus in the next year, which could have a major impact on its sales as the price would likely be around 20-30% lower than Sanofi's original drug. 

This may still me some way off, however, as the regulatory pathway for new biosimilars is still in its early stages in the US, and Sanofi will likely fight against Lilly's filing of a copycat version of its medicine.

Overall for the quarter Sanofi saw sales tick upward to 2.4% to 8.81bn euros, with growth coming predominately coming from its biologics unit Genzyme, its animal health division and sales from emerging markets. 

Sanofi's new chief executive, Olivier Brandicourt, said: “Sanofi had a good start to 2015. Our businesses provide a solid foundation for our new-product cycle. Sanofi's recent launches along with the ongoing regulatory reviews and planned submissions before year-end will drive future growth. 

“At this important time for the company, my primary focus will be on maximising the value of this innovative product portfolio and further establishing Sanofi as a leading biopharmaceutical company.”

Article by
Ben Adams

30th April 2015

From: Sales

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