Friday, September 21, 2007

Sanofi opens the R&D kimono

The WSJ Health Blog recently had an interesting post on a recent presentation made by Sanofi brass in Paris featuring their R&D pipeline. Besides rethinking their Accomplia strategy, Sanofi revealed a couple of interesting products.

One of these is a smoking cessation drug called dianicline. Perhaps Pfizer's Chantix/Champix will see competition from this drug before other products in this category (such as the Novartis/Cytos nicotine vaccine deal). Meanwhile, WSJ Health Blog just reported that the sales of Pfizer's Chantix are "on fire" in the US.

Another interesting product is a Zetia like compound - AVE5530. Sanofi wants to sell it separately and pair it with a statin. Sanofi plans to file the drug for approval in 2010. Given that Vytorin has been such a huge success, Sanofi ought to be selling the statin combo from day one. If they plan to file in 2010, they probably have already selected the statin to pair this with - either Lipitor or Crestor (Sanofi are unlikely to pair it with the generic simvastatin given the competetive positioning of this product wrt Vytorin). Since AZ is already working on other combo options for Crestor (with Abbott's Tricor), it is quite likely that this drug will be sold in combination with Pfizer's Lipitor. Exactly how much such a combo drug would benefit Pfizer is unclear to Pharmalyst given that Lipitor's patent is set to expire in the US in 2010. Merck and Schering have already announced that they will sell the Zetia Lipitor combo once Lipitor goes generic.


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