Sanofi looks to Dupixent as diabetes sales plummet

Sanofi’s potential eczema blockbuster Dupixent has got off to a strong start amid shrinking revenues in its diabetes business.

Novo Nordisk posted Q3 results yesterday showing mounting sales for its latest long-acting insulin, Sanofi’s Lantus is going the other way because of competition from Eli Lilly’s biosimilar.

Lantus sales fell 15.5% compared with last year’s Q3, to just over 1.1 billion euros, with the decline most acute in the US.

Its US sales plummeted by more than 23% to 716 million euros after pharmacy benefit managers CVS and United Health decided last year to exclude Lantus from formularies, opting instead to use Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim’s biosimilar Basaglar.

Meanwhile in Europe, sales were down 3.2% to 238 million euros, where the biosimilar has been on the market for longer.

Luckily, this decline was mitigated elsewhere – Sanofi’s Genzyme unit, which produces Dupixent, saw sales increase 13.9% to just under 1.4 billion euros, while sales at its Sanofi Pasteur vaccines unit increased 11% to a fraction over 1.9 billion euros.

This means the French drugmaker’s business could look radically different in a few years’ time if sales of Dupixent (dupilumab) continue to build – a drug that analysts Bernstein predict could produce sales in the region of $4 billion.

After US approval in March, quarterly sales are already at 75 million euros, and from a standing start the drug has already amassed sales of 101 million euros.

Following the results the company gave a more detailed analysis of how its business has changed over the last few years and how this will play out in 2018.

It had previously seen a 4-8% fall in currency-adjusted sales at the diabetes franchise between 2015 and 2018. Sanofi said the fall will now be between 6-8%.

Net income fell 1.1% at constant exchange rates to just over 2.1 billion euros, although total sales rose 4.7% to 9.05 billion euros, with revenues from diabetes and cardiovascular products down 14.8%.

Don't miss your daily pharmaphorum news.
SUBSCRIBE free here.