Press review


Novo Nordisk looking for alternatives to insulin

PARIS, May 18 (APM) - Les Echos on Friday (p19) published an article on Novo Nordisk’s efforts to develop its presence outside of the diabetes market, as this segment has been hit hard by pricing pressures, notably in the U.S.
“Since the decrease in prices of insulins in the U.S. in 2016, some have predicted Novo Nordisk would decline,” the newspaper wrote, as more than 80% of the company’s sales come from these products.
After a difficult year in 2017, when sales stagnated, sales have declined by 5% in the first quarter of 2018, it added.
Though the company argues that sales of GLP-1 products are dynamic, these only amount to €8 billion, compared to €30 billion for insulin , it pointed out.
In order to defend its position, Novo Nordisk - like the other players in the diabetes market, Sanofi and Lilly - is counting on demonstrating its products can reduce morbidity factors connected to diabetes, and needs to provide evidence that they can reduce healthcare spending.
But the Nordic company has another card up its sleeve, an oral version of Ozempic (semaglutide), currently in Phase III, which could give it an edge over the competition.
This could be launched in 2020, which might allow the company to prepare for the loss of exclusivity on Victoza (liraglutide), for which biosimilars are expected in 2023.
Novo Nordisk is also investing in another trend in the diabetes market, combinations, with insulin and GLP-1 combinations, as well as GLP-1 SLGT2, Les Echos added.

Sanofi refocuses on specialty medicines in the U.S., amid pressure in diabetes

Les Echos (p16) on Monday published an article on Sanofi’s efforts in specialty medicines on the U.S. market, as the company faces pressure on its main activity in the country, diabetes.
Noting that the U.S. is Sanofi’s biggest market, the newspaper said the French pharma had anticipated the patent cliff it would face in diabetes as early as 2011, with the acquisition of Genzyme.
The newspaper also pointed out that the company has been one of the first to announce limited price increases in the U.S. in light of Donald Trump’s declaration of war over the uncontrolled rise in drug prices.
More recently, Sanofi has upped its efforts to develop its specialty medicines business, with the restructuring of its partnership with Alnylam over haemophilia treatment Fitusiran, and the acquisition of biotech company Bioverativ.

Aspen invests €25 million in French plant

Tuesday’s Les Echos (p25) reported that South African pharma Aspen is to invest €25 million in a new production line for its French site near Rouen in Normandy.
The plant will gain a new sterile anticlotting pre-filled syringes manufacturing line, increasing its capacity to 400 million units per year.
Aspen, which employs 655 people at the site, plans to hire 100 more within the next three years.

Therapeutic software company launches IPO

Les Echos (p30) on Wednesday announced that French IT company Voluntis, which develops software to help patients suffering from chronic disease to manage their treatment, has decided to launch an IPO.
The company aims to raise between €32 million and €37 million, in order to reinforce its commercial workforce in the U.S.A., Canada and Europe.
The company aims to strengthen its interactions with private payers.
Its solution for diabetes patients Diabeo, developed in partnership with Sanofi, is about to be accepted for reimbursement by the French authorities, the article said.
With a cost of €750 per year and per patient, it will be reimbursed under an experimental telemedicine programme that aims to support treatment compliance.

Takeda expects lower earnings after Shire acquisition

Tuesday’s Les Echos (brief p18) noted that Takeda announced its operational result should decline to €1.6 billion for the 2019 fiscal year (ending March 2019), compared to €1.84 billion in 2018, due to the impact of the acquisition of Shire.

Novartis General Counsel steps down over controversial deal with Trump attorney

Thursday’s Les Echos (brief p24) briefly reported on the resignation of Novartis General Counsel, Felix Ehrat, in the wake of the firm’s controversial $1.2 million contract with U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen (APMHE 58109).



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