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Solid start for Dupixent as Sanofi raises 2017 outlook

Analysts predict dermatology medicine could become a €5bn product if approved in other indications

Sanofi

Sanofi said its new atopic dermatitis drug Dupixent is off to a good start in the US, making €26m in sales in its first full quarter on the market.

The early US uptake since its approval in March is a good sign for Regeneron-partnered Dupixent (dupilumab), an interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 inhibitor which has also been recommended for approval in the EU for atopic dermatitis - also known as eczema.

Results from the LIBERTY trials showed that the drug is effective at clearing skin and can help patients avoid steroids and topical immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and methotrexate, which can cause side effects with chronic use, and analysts have predicted that it could become a near-€5bn product at peak if it also proves its worth in asthma.

All told, Sanofi reported a 6% increase in sales in the second quarter to €8.66bn, with buoyant growth at Sanofi's rare disease unit Genzyme and vaccines subsidiary Sanofi Pasteur offsetting declines for its cardiovascular drugs and a 19% drop in sales of Lantus (insulin glargine) to €1.20bn.

Lantus is Sanofi's biggest-selling drug but has been hit by biosimilar competition, and the company is expecting the pace of decline to pick up in the second half of the year. Long-acting follow-up Toujeo provided some relief for Sanofi's insulin glargine franchise, rising 46% to €210m.

Chief executive Olivier Brandicourt said that the gains for Genzyme and the vaccines unit - up 14% to €1.44bn and 26% to €1.02bn respectively - together with "disciplined expense management, enabled us to more than offset the headwinds in our diabetes franchise".

He said the company now expects "broadly stable" earnings per share (EPS) this year, compared to a previous forecast of stable to slightly lower EPS.

Sanofi also has high expectations for just-approved rheumatoid arthritis therapy Kevzara (sarilumab), an IL-6 inhibitor predicted to become a $1bn-plus product despite entering a fairly crowded market. Sanofi's pricing of the drug undercuts closest rival - Roche's Actemra (tocilizumab) - as well as other biologics for RA including the TNF inhibitors.

Brandicourt also pointed to the potential of Sanofi's pipeline, saying that "the initiation of phase III studies in additional indications for dupilumab, the phase II/III programs with the anti PD-1 in multiple cancer indications and fitusiran in haemophilia were significant R&D milestones in the second quarter".

Article by
Phil Taylor

31st July 2017

From: Sales

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