Battered Sanofi sets hopes on cancer and biotech


Paris - Sanofi-Aventis was reminded that steady income flows in the pharma buisness are a thing of the past. The French drugmaker saw its earnings fall by nearly 30 percent in the first quarter, as low swine flu vaccine sales hammered an important pillar of the business basis.
The bad news from the financial front was ameliorated slightly when Phase-III-study results from Zaltrap, used as a second line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer, showed some promise. Zaltrap
(flibercept) is being developed with the US-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as a partner.
As the French company stated, the Phase III trial evaluating flibercept in combination with folinic acid chemotherapy met its primary endpoint of improving overall survival. The study was a multinational, randomized, double-blind trial comparing the chemotherapy in combination with either aflibercept or placebo in the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer after failure of an oxaliplatin-based regimen. The study enrolled 1,226 patients with mCRC who previously had been treated with an oxaliplatin-based regimen.
Until Zaltrap and other candidates eventually hit the market, Sanofi may experience other bumpy rides in earnings. Sanofi’s blood thinner Plavix, the second-best selling drug in the world, loses patent protection in 2012. Though the company is still fairly profitable, it made €1.2 billion net profit in the January-March quarter, a drop of 29 percent from €1.7 billion a year earlier, when swine flu vaccine sales gave a boost to earnings.
We must not overlook the global beacon for biotechnology, US-based biotech giant Genzyme, which Sanofi-Aventis recently bought for €13.5 billion earlier this month, where sales rose 7 percent to $1 billion in the first quarter.



Stockholm/Suresnes - Swedish BioInvent International AB and French Laboratoires Servier are working together on an oncology target. Under the terms of the agreement, Servier will engage BioInvent to screen its proprietary library...



Romainville – Cellectis SA has completed its acquisition of Cellartis AB, which provides stem cell-based in vitro R&D tools, in a cash and stock deal valued at €29.1m (US$39.9m). Cellartis shareholders received 1.9 million...



Paris – One of the biggest European biotech deals of 2011 is now sealed. As announced in September, the shareholders of French genome engineering specialist Cellectis approved the takeover of Swedish Cellartis, the European...



Paris - Sanofi and MS patients can breathe a sigh of relief. At an MS congress in Amsterdam, the company presented impressive results of a phase III trial comparing alemtuzumab with subcutaneous Rebif interferon beta-1a in 581...



Paris/Boulder – French drugmaker Servier has secured the rights for two miroRNA drug candidates from US-biotech MiRagen. Both companies clinched a partnership agreement under which Servier would fund the research, development and...



Paris/Hyderabad – Sanofi Aventis believes in India. The pharmaceutical company announced the opening a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing facility, believed to be Asia's biggest, in March 2012. In the coming years Sanofi will...



Paris – Nanobiotix S.A. is entering the clinical stage with its NanoXray nano­particle therapy, which aims to increase the efficacy of radiotherapy without increasing dosage. In mid-September, the French nano­medicine company...

Sweden, FranceFrance


Paris – For €16.4m in cash and roughly €12m in shares, French genome engineering specialist Cellectis has taken over Swedish Cellartis. Cellartis is the European leader in stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes. With 62...

Germany, FranceFrance


Luxembourg - Disorientation reigns in green biotechnology in Europe. Two decisions by the European Court of Justice regarding genetically modified crops point in different directions. On Thursday the judges left the opponents of...

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