Press review

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Major marketing advance for AbbVie’s hep C drug Maviret in France

PARIS, Mar 9 (APM) - Les Echos (p5) announced on Thursday that AbbVie has won a major victory on the French market for its hepatitis C treatment Maviret.
The product, which until now was only available in hospitals, has been approved to be dispensed by pharmacies, though its prescription is still limited to specialists.(APMHE 57218)
The drug’s public price is the same as that of competitor Merck & Co’s Zepatier, 28,000 euros.
But according to Les Echos, AbbVie has agreed to make “significant rebates” to French social security if sales reach certain levels.
AbbVie France president Pierre-Claude Fumoleau told the newspaper the pharma expects to be able to take as much as half the French hepatitis C market with this approval, compared to less than 5% currently.
Les Echos noted that Gilead is the current market leader, with two-thirds of the market.

’A third’ of Levothyrox patients have dropped the product

Friday’s L’Humanité (brief p19) and radio station France Info reported that a third of patients who used to take Merck KGaA’s Levothyrox - about 500,000 people - have stopped treatment because of the fear of side effects, according to figures published by the health minister.
At the same time, the biggest patients’ association, Vivre Sans Thyroïde (‘living without a thyroid’), said this figure was underestimated by officials and was in fact around one million.
Merck has rejected both numbers, declaring “these figures are in no way the reflection of reality”.

Biom’Up invests 15 million euros, creates 200 jobs

Surgical haemostasis company Biom’Up has decided to invest 15 million euros in a new plant, wrote Les Echos (p28) on Thursday.
The investment should create 200 jobs, tripling the company’s current headcount.
The project will result in a modernisation of Biom’Up’s current manufacturing capacities near Lyon and will also create a new facility, which will be operational by early 2019.
The new installations will manufacture biopolymers used in surgery to control bleeds, after the company gained the green light from the U.S. FDA to market its products in the country.

Has Sanofi been too hasty with its dengue vaccine?

Wednesday’s Le Monde (Science and Medicine supplement, p4) published an article on the uproar Sanofi is facing with the failure of its dengue vaccine, after the vaccination campaign was stopped in the Philippines amid safety issues, leading local authorities to sue the company.
The report insisted on the significant efforts and investments made by the French pharma to bring its product Dengvaxia on the market.
It also questioned Sanofi’s haste in marketing the product, notably doubting that the pharma has conducted enough studies of the vaccine’s long-term efficacy.

Sanofi signs R&D deal with Evotec in infectious diseases

Friday’s Les Echos (p19) and Le Figaro (brief p21) report on the R&D deal signed by Sanofi with Evotec to develop new antimicrobials (APMHE 57226).
Les Echos notes that the deal is in line with Sanofi’s strategy to streamline its R&D activities.
The newspaper also underlines that Sanofi’s teams in the field will be combined with those of Evotec, with the French pharma insisting their jobs would be secure.
It also says that Evotec had already taken over Sanofi R&D teams in Toulouse in 2015. (APMHE 41928)

Healthcare and biotech main contributors to patent request boom in Europe

Thursday’s Les Echos (p19) and La Croix (p10) reported that the healthcare and biotech sectors are the main contributors to patent requests in Europe, which reached record levels last year.
In 2017, patent submissions rose by close to 4% to 166,000, while the number of patents delivered was up 10% to 106,000.

MS treatment Zinbryta pulled from European market

Thursday’s Le Figaro (brief p11) reported briefly on EMA’s decision to withdraw AbbVie/Biogen’s multiple sclerosis treatment Zinbryta (Biogen) from the market, because of risks of severe brain inflammation (APMHE 57192).

Change at the helm of GSK France

Thursday’s Les Echos (brief p35) and Le Figaro (brief p24) reported that Josephine Yang Comiskey has been appointed president of GlaxoSmithKline France. (APMHE 57202)
Her predecessor, Jean-François Brochard, has left the company to head Roche Pharma France.
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