Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)

Paul Hud­son: Sanofi 'least ex­posed' to gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion as Big Phar­ma dou­bles down on Dupix­ent

As Sanofi gears to change strate­gies to in­crease Dupix­ent sales and add in­di­ca­tions amid a sprawl­ing R&D trim, CEO Paul Hud­son gave some in­sight in­to how it plans to move for­ward.

The plan is two-prong: Hud­son told in­vestors and an­a­lysts on the phar­ma’s Q2 earn­ings call that it’s the “least ex­posed” Big Phar­ma to the threat of gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion through the rest of the 2020s, while its Re­gen­eron-part­nered Dupix­ent will be­come an even more im­por­tant tool in Sanofi’s reper­toire.

“Clear­ly, Dupix­ent re­mains the num­ber one dri­ver of our growth sto­ry. It will help to man­age the LoE of Auba­gio in the US in 2023, our last mean­ing­ful LoE in this decade,” Hud­son said on a Zoom call ear­li­er Thurs­day.

Hud­son called the mar­ket for Dupix­ent “large­ly un­der­pen­e­trat­ed,” not­ing while more than 450,000 peo­ple have been treat­ed with the drug since its ap­proval in 2017, the el­i­gi­ble pop­u­la­tion is some­where around 7 mil­lion. Of the 450,000 pa­tients treat­ed, 150,000 of them were this quar­ter, thanks to ap­provals in pa­tients with eosinophilic esophagi­tis, in­fants with atopic der­mati­tis in the US, and pe­di­atric asth­ma in Eu­rope.

Sanofi has spent the last few months trim­ming its pipeline, as in late 2019 and ear­ly 2020, Sanofi’s gen­er­al med­i­cines unit boast­ed more than 350 prod­uct fam­i­lies, the com­pa­ny said a few months ago. By the end of the year, the com­pa­ny is aim­ing to re­duce that fig­ure to about 125 — end­ing up at around 100 with­in three years.

Hud­son al­so men­tioned the com­pa­ny’s “Play to Win” mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tions strat­e­gy that got its start in 2019 af­ter Hud­son joined the French phar­ma. Now that its first phase is near­ing an end, af­ter eight quar­ters of con­sec­u­tive growth and more than two dozen BD and M&A deals, the next phase is launch­ing to take the com­pa­ny through 2025.

“It is a proof point that our fo­cus on win­ning as­sets, com­bined with strong com­mer­cial ex­e­cu­tion, is clear­ly pay­ing off,” Hud­son said.

Hud­son added that sev­er­al key fac­tors will be in­stru­men­tal in the US. Those in­clude R&D pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and in­creas­ing in­vest­ments in “break­through sci­ence,” that is, first and best in class as­sets, with Hud­son adding, “We will have mul­ti­ple chances for trans­for­ma­tive launch­es in the up­com­ing years.”

In the short term, the com­pa­ny’s fo­cus is on nir­se­vimab, a long-act­ing an­ti­body to treat RSV in in­fants — and in Hud­son’s words, “mak­ing nir­se­vimab a suc­cess sto­ry.” Sanofi has al­ready filed for nir­se­vimab ap­proval in Eu­rope, with a de­ci­sion ex­pect­ed by years’ end.

Dupix­ent is Sanofi’s sales king, record­ing €1.96 bil­lion in sales this quar­ter (grow­ing 43%) amid over­all rev­enue up 8.1%. Sanofi’s spe­cial­ty care group was re­spon­si­ble for sub­stan­tial growth, with €4.1 bil­lion in sales this quar­ter, up more than 21%.

Cur­rent­ly, Dupix­ent is in­di­cat­ed for asth­ma, atopic der­mati­tis, eosinophilic esophagi­tis and chron­ic rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis with nasal poly­po­sis — and Sanofi has 11 ad­di­tion­al in­di­ca­tions in its pipeline for the drug, in­clud­ing chron­ic pru­ri­tus of un­known ori­gin and chron­ic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease.

Be­yond spe­cial­ty care, which in­cludes Dupix­ent, on­col­o­gy, rare dis­ease, blood dis­or­ders and neu­rol­o­gy/im­munol­o­gy, oth­er ar­eas of Sanofi’s port­fo­lio al­so saw gains. Vac­cines grew 8.7% to €1.2 bil­lion, and con­sumer health­care sales in­creased 9.1% to €1.3 bil­lion. How­ev­er, gen­er­al med­i­cine saw a de­crease, down 4.1%, with 3.6 bil­lion eu­ros in sales.

Over­all rev­enue topped €10.1 bil­lion this quar­ter.

Even though Sanofi is con­fi­dent in its abil­i­ty to re­main in­su­lat­ed from gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion, it’s an­oth­er sto­ry when oth­er Big Phar­mas seek mar­ket share. Eli Lil­ly re­cent­ly re­vealed long-term da­ta on its can­di­date le­brik­izum­ab in an at­tempt to chal­lenge Dupix­ent in atopic der­mati­tis. But Paul Hud­son has been pay­ing com­peti­tors no mind as he pre­dict­ed back in March that Dupix­ent would see $14.5 bil­lion in peak sales — which if true would send the drug clos­er to Hu­mi­ra-lev­el ter­ri­to­ry.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

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Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.

Regeneron CSO George Yancopoulos (L) and CEO Len Schleifer at a groundbreaking for its new Tarrytown, NY facility, June 2022 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In show­down with Roche, Re­gen­eron gears up for po­ten­tial Eylea ex­pan­sion amid Covid de­cline

Regeneron faced a substantial slump in overall revenue last year, but the focus still remains on some of its biggest blockbusters.

The pharma with several high-profile partnerships — Sanofi and Bayer among them — said Friday that Q4 revenue was down 31% for the quarter, and down 24% for the entire year. However, that won’t stop blockbuster expansion plans.

One of those is Eylea, the Bayer-partnered eye disease drug that has been in major competition with Roche’s Vabysmo. While Eylea is currently only approved in a 2 mg dose, the company recently filed for approval to give a 8 mg dose, in hopes of making a longer-lasting treatment.

BeiGene's new website helps direct cancer patients and caregivers to a wide variety of sources for help.

BeiGene re­veals men­tal health and can­cer care gap in study, de­buts dig­i­tal re­sources

One-fourth of cancer patients are living with depression — and another 20% suffer from anxiety. That’s according to new study results from BeiGene, conducted by Cancer Support Community (CSC), about the mental and emotional health of cancer patients.

While the fact that people with cancer are also dealing with depression or anxiety may not be surprising, what is — and was to BeiGene — is that a majority of them aren’t getting support. 60% of respondents said they were not referred to a mental health professional, and even more concerning, two in five who specifically asked for mental health help did not get it. CSC, a nonprofit mental health in cancer advocacy group, surveyed more than 600 US cancer patients.

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One of the paintings from Gilead's latest campaign making AI art to help MBC patients be 'seen and heard.'

Gilead com­bines ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and art to draw at­ten­tion and hope to MBC

What if you could “see” the emotions and feelings of people living with metastatic breast cancer? That’s what Gilead Sciences’ agency VMLY&R Health did last year, using artificial intelligence and sound analytics to turn the interviews of three women living with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer into works of art.

Using the sound waves, a robotic painting device translated their stories of struggle and hope into colors, contours and brush strokes. The result? An art exhibition called “Paintings of Hope” that was first displayed at ESMO in September in Paris, but has since traveled to hospitals and medical conferences in Europe and Spain.

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