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Sanofi narrows focus, shedding diabetes and cardiovascular research

New CEO Paul Hudson reveals strategy update

Sanofi

New CEO Paul Hudson has revealed his strategy for Sanofi, including the termination of its diabetes and cardiovascular research as well as a streamlined focus on a number of investigational pipeline candidates. 

Hudson's re-prioritisation of the business means that Sanofi’s historical and established stake in the diabetes and cardiovascular therapy areas will shrink, as its attention turns to other ‘key priorities to drive innovation and growth’.

This includes focusing on the growth of its immunology drug Dupixent (dupilumab), which increased in sales by 142% in the third quarter of this year to an impressive €570m ($637m).

That figure puts it on course to broach the €2bn threshold for the full-year and reach what some analysts predict could be $7.5bn potential at peak. However, in its strategy update, Sanofi has aimed even higher, with the ambition for Dupixent to hit more than €10bn ($10.1bn) at peak sales.

The drug was first launched for atopic dermatitis in 2016, and has since scored label extensions including adolescent AD patients, asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

Sanofi is also prioritising its vaccines business, saying that this area is expected to deliver mid-to-high single-digit growth from 2018 to 2025. This will be driven, it says, by market expansion, differentiated products and new launches.

The pharma giant is also looking to its pipeline for growth, and has identified ‘six potentially transformative therapies’ that will help drive this.

This includes a host of investigational therapies for rare disease and cancers, such as Fitusiran (an RNAi therapeutic for haemophilia A and B), BIVV001 (a factor VIII therapy for haemophilia A) and SERD (‘859) for hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.

Paul Hudson

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson

Shares in the French-drugmaker surged after the news was announced yesterday, with investors rallying as Sanofi makes it clear that its new focus is on potential blockbusters, rather than its established brands that have been losing money rapidly over the last few years.

Sanofi’s diabetes business is historically one of its core areas, but in its recent Q3 report these medicines accounted for just 13.3% of sales, down 9.9% from last year. Its insulin Lantus was the top selling product across its diabetes business, bringing in €751m, a drop of almost 17.5% from the same period last year.

The re-focus could have been anticipated following the news of Sanofi’s $2.5bn deal to buy Synthorx, an immuno-oncology specialist biotech. This deal provides Sanofi with a pipeline of ‘synthorin’ drugs for cancer as well as autoimmune indications, headed by a drug for solid tumours that is in phase 1 development.

There had also already been rumours about Sanofi’s consumer healthcare business – including a possible sale – and Hudson has decided to section it off as a standalone business unit, with its own R&D and manufacturing capabilities.

“Our objective for the consumer healthcare business is to unlock value and entrepreneurial energy by growing faster than the market over the mid term,” said Hudson.

“We believe the new standalone structure, coupled with plans to accelerate the over-the-counter switches for Cialis and Tamiflu, will position the business well to accomplish this ambition,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

11th December 2019

From: Research

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