Sanofi diabetes combo approved in EU

Sanofi’s type 2 diabetes combination drug Suliqua has been approved in Europe – setting the scene for a showdown with Novo Nordisk’s rival, Xultophy.

The EU approval means Sanofi and Novo Nordisk both have competing combination therapies approved in the US and Europe.

Both combine basal insulins with a GLP-1 receptor agonist in daily titratable fixed-ratio doses.

In Sanofi’s case, Suliqua combines its Lantus (insulin glargine) with the GLP-1 agonist lixisenatide in an injected, once-daily titratable fixed-ratio combination.

Sanofi launched the drug in the US, under the slightly different brand name of Soliqua, earlier this month. Novo Nordisk’s rival combines Tresiba (insulin degludec) with its well-established GLP-1, Victoza (liraglutide).

At the moment analysts forecast that Xultophy will outsell Suliqua, with Novo’s product forecast to produce peak sales of around $3 billion, compared with around $1 billion for Sanofi’s drug.

But with sale of Lantus, Sanofi’s flagship product on the decline, the Paris-headquartered firm will be glad of the extra sales after a disastrous start to the year.

In the US, Sanofi faces the prospect of having to withdraw its cholesterol drug, Praluent (alirocumab) after losing a patent battle with Amgen.

Sanofi is to appeal against a ruling that Praluent must be withdrawn from the US market because it infringes patents held by Amgen on its Repatha (evolocumab).

But the current thinking is that Sanofi is unlikely to succeed, and it must now turn to other medicines such as Suliqua to generate revenues.

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