Sanofi to cut in­sulin prices for unin­sured from $99 to $35, match­ing the in­sulin cap com­ing through Con­gress

As the House-passed bill to cap the month­ly price of in­sulin at $35 na­tion­wide makes its way for a Sen­ate vote soon, Sanofi an­nounced Wednes­day morn­ing that be­gin­ning next month it will cut the month­ly price of its in­sulins for unin­sured Amer­i­cans to $35, down from $99 pre­vi­ous­ly.

The an­nounce­ment from Sanofi, which al­lows the unin­sured to buy one or mul­ti­ple Sanofi in­sulins (Lan­tus, In­sulin Glargine U-100, Tou­jeo, Ad­mel­og, and Apidra) at $35 for a 30-day sup­ply ef­fec­tive Ju­ly 1, fol­lows House pas­sage (232-193) of the month­ly cap in March, with just 12 Re­pub­li­cans vot­ing in fa­vor of the mea­sure.

While both the Sen­ate and the House bills ef­fec­tive­ly cut what many of those who re­ly on in­sulin to stay alive will pay at the phar­ma­cy counter, it doesn’t hit the prices set by the phar­ma man­u­fac­tur­ers, nor does it help those who are unin­sured. Ma­jor­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sim­i­lar­ly said in March that a vote was com­ing soon then.

In­sulin jug­ger­naut Eli Lil­ly — one of the big three man­u­fac­tur­ers along with No­vo Nordisk and Sanofi — pre­vi­ous­ly told End­points News ex­clu­sive­ly that it sup­ports the bill.

A Sanofi spokesper­son sim­i­lar­ly said the com­pa­ny sup­port­ed the bill but with some reser­va­tions, telling End­points via email:

While we sup­port the $35 out-of-pock­et cap for pa­tients, the way this bill would achieve that goal is un­nec­es­sar­i­ly com­pli­cat­ed and bu­reau­crat­ic, which could re­sult in unan­tic­i­pat­ed dis­tor­tions in oth­er parts of the drug dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem. In­stead, Con­gress should pur­sue a sim­pler $35 co-pay cap which would de­liv­er faster and greater sav­ings for all pa­tients.

Sanofi, mean­while, says that all com­mer­cial­ly in­sured peo­ple are el­i­gi­ble for its co-pay as­sis­tance pro­grams, re­gard­less of in­come or in­sur­ance, “which lim­its out-of-pock­et ex­pens­es for a ma­jor­i­ty of peo­ple be­tween $0 and $10.” But the com­pa­ny al­so con­firmed that some di­a­bet­ics tak­ing Sanofi’s in­sulins would see sav­ings with the House bill.

Lau­ra Marston

In 2021, about 68% of pa­tients with com­mer­cial in­sur­ance paid $35 or less out of pock­et per fill for Sanofi’s Lan­tus, a spokesper­son added, as did about 72% of pa­tients with Medicare Part D.

But some in­sulin price ad­vo­cates don’t think this lat­est Sanofi move re­al­ly goes far enough.

“It’s not even a band-aid on a bul­let wound, be­cause it’s a vol­un­tary pro­gram that Sanofi can end at any time,” Lau­ra Marston, an at­tor­ney with type 1 di­a­betes who ad­vo­cates for low­er in­sulin prices, told End­points, adding:

In­sulin-de­pen­dent di­a­betes is for life. Sanofi’s PR move is not. I am hope­ful Sanofi’s new in­sulin coupon pro­gram will save mon­ey for the unin­sured. I am dis­mayed we live in a coun­try where 1 in 4 di­a­bet­ics can’t af­ford in­sulin and our gov­ern­ment leaves us to re­ly on half-mea­sures by the very com­pa­nies who hold our lives hostage for prof­it. Con­gress must cap the list price of in­sulin for all and must stand up to PhRMA on be­half of pa­tients, even while PhRMA pro­claims to be solv­ing the in­sulin price cri­sis it alone cre­at­ed.

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Ted Love, Global Blood Therapeutics CEO

Up­dat­ed: Pfiz­er scoops up Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics and its sick­le cell ther­a­pies for $5.4B

Pfizer is dropping $5.4 billion to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics.

Just ahead of the weekend, word got out that Pfizer was close to clinching a $5 billion buyout — albeit with other potential buyers still at the table. The pharma giant, flush with cash from Covid-19 vaccine sales, apparently got out on top.

The deal immediately swells Pfizer’s previously tiny sickle cell disease portfolio from just a Phase I program to one with an approved drug, Oxbryta, plus a whole pipeline that, if all approved, the company believes could make for a $3 billion franchise at peak.

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BREAK­ING: Math­ai Mam­men makes an abrupt ex­it as head of the big R&D group at J&J

In an after-the-bell shocker, J&J announced Monday evening that Mathai Mammen has abruptly exited J&J as head of its top-10 R&D group.

Recruited from Merck 5 years ago, where the soft spoken Mammen was being groomed as the successor to Roger Perlmutter, he had been one of the top-paid R&D chiefs in biopharma. His group spent $12 billion last year on drug development, putting it in the top 5 in the industry.

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No­vavax shares shred­ded as Covid vac­cine sales fall more than 90% in Q2

Months after Novavax celebrated its first profitable quarter as a commercial company, the Gaithersburg, MD-based company is back in the red.

Sales for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine slipped to $55 million last quarter, down from $586 million in Q1, CEO Stanley Erck revealed on Monday after market close. The company’s stock $NVAX plummeted more than 32% in after-hours trading.

Upon kicking off the call with analysts and investors, Erck addressed the elephant in the room:

Uğur Şahin, BioNTech CEO (Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

De­spite falling Covid-19 sales, BioN­Tech main­tains '22 sales guid­ance

While Pfizer raked in almost $28 billion last quarter, its Covid-19 vaccine partner BioNTech reported a rise in total dose orders but a drop in sales.

The German biotech reported over $3.2 billion in revenue in Q2 on Monday, down from more than $6.7 billion in Q1, in part due to falling Covid sales. While management said last quarter that they anticipated a Covid sales drop — CEO Uğur Şahin said at the time that “the pandemic situation is still very much uncertain” — Q2 sales still missed consensus by 14%.

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Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (David Zorrakino/Europa Press via AP Images)

As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi Sankyo sprint to mar­ket af­ter FDA clears En­her­tu in just two weeks

Regulators didn’t keep AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo waiting long at all for their latest Enhertu approval.

The partners pulled a win on Friday in HER2-low breast cancer patients who’ve already failed on chemotherapy, less than two weeks after its supplemental BLA was accepted. While this isn’t the FDA’s fastest approval — Bristol Myers Squibb won an OK for its blockbuster checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo in just five days back in March — it comes well ahead of Enhertu’s original Q4 PDUFA date.

Sen­ate Dems cling to a sim­ple ma­jor­i­ty to pass some of the biggest drug pric­ing re­forms ever

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — and their fleet of drug industry lobbyists on Capitol Hill — are known for never losing.

Whenever a big drug pricing bill comes up, an army of the industry group’s lobbyists descend onto the Hill and either smash it outright or dismantle it piece by piece.

But for perhaps the largest drug pricing reforms ever enacted, after more than a decade of Congress trying and failing to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, those same lobbyists and their biopharma clients were dealt a stunning blow on Sunday afternoon.

Anna Protopapas, Mersana CEO

In $1.36B biobuck deal with GSK, Mer­sana touts 'biggest pre­clin­i­cal ADC deal ever'

Days after Enhertu reeled in another FDA nod, with the first-ever green light for HER2-low breast cancer, another antibody drug conjugate biotech claims it has secured the largest preclinical ADC pact to date for a single asset.

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo made waves with their nearly $7 billion collaboration back in spring 2019, but at that point, Enhertu was already nearing the FDA’s doors with clinical data. The latest ADC tie-up to enter the biopharma fray centers around a preclinical asset, Mersana Therapeutics’ XMT-2056.

FDA commissioner Rob Califf (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

With drug pric­ing al­most done, Con­gress looks to wrap up FDA user fee leg­is­la­tion

The Senate won’t return from its summer recess until Sept. 6, but when it does, it officially has 18 business days to finalize the reauthorization of the FDA user fee programs for the next 5 years, or else thousands of drug and biologics reviewers will be laid off and PDUFA dates will vanish in the interim.

FDA commissioner Rob Califf recently sent agency staff a memo explaining how, “Our latest estimates are that we have carryover for PDUFA [Prescription Drug User Fee Act], the user fee funding program that will run out of funding first, to cover only about 5 weeks into the next fiscal year.”