Sanofi, which sensationally sacked chief executive Chris Viehbacher at the end of last month, says it expects to launch up to 18 new drugs over the next seven years, which could generate more than 30 billion euros within the first five years of sales.
The French drugmaker will make a presentation in Boston later today on its late-stage R&D pipeline. Research chief Elias Zerhouni says that Sanofi has the potential to launch up to six new therapies in 2015 and “approximately one new medicine every six months between 2016 and 2018”.
Among the treatments that will be highlighted is Praluent (alirocumab), its monoclonal antibody targeting PCSK9 which has “the potential to transform LDL-cholesterol management”. Developed in collaboration with Regeneron, it is expected to be submitted to US and European regulatory agencies before the end of 2014.
Other treatments in the spotlight are Sanofi’s dengue vaccine, which will be filed next year, and two other Regeneron-partnered drugs - sarilumab for rheumatoid arthritis and dupilumab. The latter has just been granted breakthrough therapy designation by the US Food and Drug Administration for atopic dermatitis.
The pressure is on Sanofi to end its reliance on Lantus (insulin glargine) and the company says it expects global diabetes drug sales “to be flat to slightly growing” between 2015 and 2018. Its forecast assumes "substantial conversion" of patients from Lantus to an improved version of the latter, called Toujeo, which is under review on both sides of the Atlantic, continued growth of diabetes drugs in the emerging markets and US launches of other diabetes drugs, notably Lixilan (insulin glargine/lixisenatide) and Afrezza, the inhaled insulin treatment licensed from MannKind.
Meantime the rumour mill is lining up potential candidates to succeed Mr Viehbacher, most of whom are French. These include Smith & Nephew’s chief executive Olivier Bouhon, Takeda chief operating offer Christophe Weber (lined up for the top job at the Japanese drugmaker already) and Bayer HealthCare boss Olivier Brandicourt.