Sanofi tightens PCSK9 race, exceeds Q2 expectations

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Sanofi

Diabetes was a major second-quarter performer for drugmaker Sanofi, which announced Thursday that sales rose almost 1% to $10.8 billion, compared to the same period last year.

The performance beat Street expectations, which were further whetted by Wednesday's announcement that Sanofi and partner Regeneron were attaching a BLA priority review voucher to their experimental cholesterol drug alirocumab.

The partners paid BioMarin $67.5 million for the voucher, which allows the owner to name a drug of choice it wants reviewed within six months of filing, as opposed to the standard 10. The Wall Street Journal notes BioMarin snagged the voucher when the FDA approved its rare disease drug Vimizim for Morquio A, and that the sale is OK by FDA rules. Sanofi's move is important because it tightens the PCSK9 race between Amgen and Sanofi/Regeneron.

Leerink analyst Seamus Fernandez wrote in a Thursday research note that Sanofi's cardiovascular risk information for the drug “should firm up” Sanofi and Regeneron's likelihood of a timely approval “with a relatively broad label in 2015.”

Diabetes sales rose just over 10% in Q2 compared to the same period last year, to almost $2.4 billion. Lantus sales jumped 10.5% during the quarter compared to the same period last year, to $2 billion. US Lantus sales made up almost $1.4 billion of the overall Lantus take, a 20% jump compared to the same period last year, with the majority of these sales coming from the SoloSTAR pen. Diabetes medication Apidra also provided some heft, kicking in $103 million—a 13% increase over the same period last year.

Sales of MS drug Aubagio hit $130 million, up from $44 million during the same period last year. Sales of the company's rare-disease drug Fabrazyme rose 35% to $165 million, compared to the same period last year. Sanofi attributed growth to new US patients and increasing Western European sales.

Sales of patent-free blood-thinner Plavix continued to slide, this time by over 8%, to $568 million, compared to the same period last year.

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