Press review

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China an attractive market for pharmaceutical companies - French press

PARIS, 16 Nov (APM) - China is an attractive market for pharma companies, with new drugs taking six months to get market access rather than three years previously, following governmental reforms, La Croix reported on Monday (p.11).
This means China is now an attractive market for pharma such as Sanofi, which saw its sales in the country grow by 15% in 2017, the daily paper said.
Le Monde Economie & Entreprise also reported on Tuesday (p.1 and 3) that China is a growing market for pharma companies, stating that between now and 2030 the country could overtake the U.S. to become the biggest pharmaceuticals market.
Le Figaro also reported on Thursday (p.20) on the 'El Dorado' China represents for Sanofi, saying that its anticoagulant Plavix is the second biggest-selling drug in the country after Pfizer’s Lipitor.
The paper added that in Europe and the U.S. the patents for these drugs are expiring, meaning sales are beginning to drop in comparison to sales in China, which grew by 15% last year for Sanofi alone.

Disappointing sales of Sanofi’s Praluent

Les Echos reported on Monday (p.18) that despite interesting clinical trial results, sales of Sanofi's Praluent (alirocumab) were disappointing.
The paper said it faced competition from Amgen’s Repatha (evolocumab), which had better trial results and published them a year before Sanofi.
However, both drugs still face stiff competition from the reference drugs, statins, which are a lot cheaper.

French trust drugs more than pharma companies

Les Echos reported on Wednesday (p.20) that according to the annual survey carried out on the subject by French pharma Leem and the Ipsos Institute, eight out of 10 French people trust medicines.
However, only just over half of respondents said they trusted the companies that manufactured them (APMHE 60583).

Novartis to spin off Alcon

Le Figaro reported in a brief on Thursday (p.22) that Novartis has started the process to spin off its eyecare business Alcon (APMHE 60569).
Le Monde Economie & Entreprise also reported on this in a brief on Thursday (p.4), saying that Novartis is planning to list Alcon in both Switzerland and New York.

Merck KGaA to invest in French site

German pharma Merck KGaA is to invest €19 million in its factory in north-central France which manufactures oral diabetes drugs, reported Le Figaro in a brief on Thursday (p.22).
Les Echos also reported on the investment on Thursday (p.30), saying that it would be used to construct another building, to create three more production lines and to modernise others.

Sanofi to invest €20 million in 'digital transformation' of factories

Les Echos reports on Friday that Sanofi is to invest €20 million in the digital transformation of factories between now and 2021.
Philippe Luscan, Executive Vice President Global Industrial Affairs, said the company hopes this will mean that in the future they will be able to anticipate spikes in the use of some drugs, or implement measures to compensate for production problems in a batch of vaccines.

French biotech Transgène to market first treatment in 2021

Le Figaro reported on Thursday (p.24) that French biotech Transgène has opened a mini-factory in France to produce its made-to-measure cancer vaccine, Myvac.
The first clinical trials for the vaccine are set to take place in 2019, with the vaccine to start being marketed in 2021.
Les Echos also reports on the topic on Friday (p.28), saying that €2 million was invested in the factory.

Samsung BioLogics accused of rigging its accounts

Les Echos reported on Thursday (p.23) that Samsun BioLogics is accused of having rigged its accounts just before it was listed on the Seoul stock exchange (APMHE 60572).
South Korea’s top financial regulator has suspended Samsung BioLogics stock and fined the biotech 8 billion won (€6.5 million).

Merck KGaA lowers annual sales forecast

Les Echos reported in a brief on Thursday (p.18) that Merck KGaA has lowered its annual sales forecast after a fall in sales in Q3.

Antibiotic resistance is health industry’s new challenge

Les Echos reported on Monday (p.18) that growing antibiotic resistance is the health industry’s biggest challenge and is one of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) main priorities.
The challenge is magnified by the fact that many big pharma companies, including Novartis, AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Roche, no longer market antibiotics, citing them as too difficult to develop and not profitable enough.
L’Humanité also reported on the issue of growing antibiotic resistance on Thursday (p.9), saying that although simple measures could be implemented to combat this growing problem, countries are not doing enough.

Phage therapy to combat antibiotic resistance

Le Parisien reports on Friday (front page, p. 2-3) on phage therapy, a kind of therapy that uses viruses to tackle the most serious infections where antibiotics do not work.
According to one microbiologist, the therapy has already saved numerous lives.

New head for French national medical research institute

Le Figaro reported in a brief on Wednesday (p.12) that Gilles Bloch, head of Paris-Saclay university, will be appointed head of the French national medical research institute (Inserm).
He will succeed Yves Lévy, who decided not to seek a second term as head of the institute due to accusations of conflicts of interest, given that he is married to France’s health minister.

Increase in percentage of infants vaccinated against meningococcal C

Le Monde Science & Medicine reported on Wednesday (p.3) that the percentage of infants vaccinated against meningococcal C had increased by 31 percentage points since the obligation to vaccinate children was extended in France at the beginning of 2018.
As part of the study “Vaccinoscopie”, financed by GlaxoSmithKline, a thousand women with children under the age of 12 months filled in an online questionnaire.

Pasteur Institute's 130th anniversary

Le Parisien reports on Friday (p.11) on 130 years of the Pasteur Institute, and what the so-called “lab rats” do on a day-to-day basis.
Since 1888, the institute has made numerous advances in medicine, including the identification of the plague bacteria, the invention of the BCG vaccine and discovering the AIDS virus.
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