Press review

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Bayer's $7.6 billion animal health division deal looks like 'emergency sale'

Country : Germany, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 23 Aug (APM) - Bayer's $7,6 billion deal on its animal health division looks like an "emergency sale" as the group prepares for a presumably costly settlement in the U.S. glyphosate litigation, inherited from U.S. weedkiller specialist Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018, FAZ (p19, 22) reported on Wednesday.
The deal will help reduce Bayer's debt, FAZ, Handelsblatt (p22), SZ (p17) and Die Welt (p13) all reported on Wednesday.
With the sale of its veterinary division to U.S group Elanco (APMHE 64103) and three other transactions already agreed in recent weeks, Bayer's €39 billion financial debt should be reduced to less than €30 billion, Handelsblatt said.
Handelsblatt pointed out on Thursday (p27) that Bayer was more successful in selling businesses than in buying new ones.
The takeover of the OTC division of Merck & Co. in 2016 was disappointing, while the contraceptive device Essure, acquired through the takeover of Conceptus in 2013 turned out to be "a total failure", Handelsblatt wrote.
Moreover, the cancer drug Xofigo (radium-223 dichloride), incorporated with the takeover of Algeta in 2014, flopped in an important study. Now, the purchase of Monsanto is associated with enormous litigation risks.
In a analysis on the value of Bayer's three divisions, Handelsblatt on Thursday (p34-35) said that Bayer is currently undervalued. This shows that experts expect the glyphosate lawsuits to cost billions.

German mail-order pharmacies bet on e-prescriptions for future growth

Mail-order pharmacies operating in Germany are betting on the development of e-prescriptions for their future growth, Handelsblatt reports on Friday (p18-19).
According to an analysis by Sempora, Doc Morris and Shop Apotheke - which have a combined market share of around 65% on mail order of prescription drugs - are likely to be the two biggest beneficiaries of e-prescriptions, at the expense of community pharmacies.
According to Zur Rose, owner of Doc Morris, the e-prescription could drive the mail order business with prescription drugs from its current market share of 1.3% to 5% or even 10%.
Shop Apotheke expects its sales of prescription drugs to increase by a factor of four or five following the introduction of the electronic prescription in Germany.

Sanofi could slash 180 jobs in Frankfurt

According to trade unions, Sanofi could strike 140 jobs at its Frankfurt-Hoechst site in diabetes drug R&D and some others, resulting in 180 posts in total, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p36) (APMHE 63404).
At a demonstration of 400 employees organised by labour union Bergbau Energie Chemie, union representative Ralf Erkens told FAZ that Sanofi's restructuring management has been "clumsy".
Erkens recognised that a shift from diabetes to cancer drugs is necessary and that the 2,000 positions moved in the company since 2000 consisted of fixed-term contracts and layoffs as well as new jobs. However, a promise to exclude business-related layoffs would be a good signal to employees, he said.

Sanofi's CEO succession created series of mismanagement

The exchanges of chief executive officers (CEOs) at the head of French pharma company Sanofi have created a series of mismanagement, monthly Manager Magazin reported on Thursday (p80-84).
In September, outgoing CEO Olivier Brandicourt will leave his successor Paul Hudson a weak pipeline compared to other companies, and Hudson will have to pursue more biotech takeovers, which has been Brandicourts strategy as well.
Sanofi's stock value has not developed favourably since the takeover of Aventis in 2004, and former CEOs could not hold their ground against chairman Serge Weinberg's dominance, Manager Magazin said.

Biotest to complete plant extension in 2020

German blood products maker Biotest will complete the extension of its production plant in Dreieich near Frankfurt, consisting of a new building with several production units, at the beginning of 2020, FAZ reports on Friday (p41).
In the fourth quarter of this year, an inspection is scheduled by the local authorities. At the beginning of next year, a final inspection will be carried out as a basis for approval by German regulator Paul Ehrlich Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (APMHE 61616).
Biotest, acquired by Chinese investor Creat in January 2018 (APMHE 56525), has invested €300 million for the new building and production facilities, and starting up the plant plus drug approval are expected to cost the same amount, according to the company.

Antibiotics prescriptions decreased in Germany in 2018

In 2018, German doctors signed 446 antibiotics prescriptions per 1,000 patients, compared to 562 prescriptions per 1,000 patients in 2010, according to a report by the central institute Zi of regional and national doctors’ associations, FAZ reported on Thursday (p17).
Mostly for paediatric patients, it was important to reduce the rate of antibiotic prescriptions, as it has been higher for Germany than for other European countries. The report shows that doctors comply to the government’s antibiotics strategy, FAZ said.

Mitsubishi's Radicava withdrawn from EU approval procedure

Japan's Mitsubishi Tanabe has pulled its amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treatment Radicava (edaravone) from the procedure for EU approval, Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Monday (p14) (APMHE 63162).
The drug was approved in Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and Switzerland. However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) found that Radicava could not be approved based on the data presented, as these did not prove an advantage in overall survival for the drug.
However, neurologists have issued new guidelines saying that muscle function should be a primary endpoint in clinical studies for ALS drugs, just like overall survival, SZ said.

Regeneron's EB3 and Ridgeback’s mAb114 effective to treat Ebola

Two drugs composed of therapeutic antibodies, Regeneron's REGN-EB3 and Ridgeback’s mAb114, have been found to be effective to treat Ebola, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p30) (APMHE 64029).
The vaccines reduced the mortality rate by up to 90% when given at an early stage of disease, as was found in the PALM study, led in four centres in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both experimental drugs improved survival rates from the disease more than two other treatments tested in the study - ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences - which were dropped in the meantime.
Initially developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH), mAb114 was licensed by privately-owned U.S. biotech Ridgeback Biotherapeutics in 2018.
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