Healthcare Pulse: Sanofi SA (ADR) (SNY), Pfizer Inc. (PFE), and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY)
Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) is slowly losing patience with MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD)’s flagship diabetes drug Afrezza that continues to flop on sales. The global pharmaceutical company saw its diabetes sales drop by 6.6% to $1.975 billion in the quarter due to lower sales in the US.
MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD)’s Afrezza only contributed 2 million in sales despite aggressive efforts aimed at convincing doctors to prescribe the inhaled insulin. The drug has only contributed 5 million in sales through nine months of 2014, well below Sanofi’s expectations.
Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) expects its global diabetes sales to drop by between 6 and 7% this year given the US market dynamics. There are already plans to institute a company-wide reorganization plan on November 6, 2015, that will mostly target the diabetes division. Sanofi has an option to cancel its partnership with Mankind on Afrezza early next year should the product’s poor performance persist.
Antitrust regulators will analyze overlaps in drug portfolio more than anything on the proposed merger between Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Allergan PLC (NYSE:AGN) according to reports. The combined company’s market share is not an issue at the moment even though the merger will be the biggest ever in the healthcare industry.
European and United States antitrust regulators are reportedly also paying a closer watch on the two companies’ biosimilars drugs. The scrutiny could come into being because there is no clear understanding on how the drugs will compete with branded biologic drugs.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) already has biosimilars for treating things like arthritis and Crohn’s disease’. Allergan, on the other hand, has in development four biosimilars. According to some antitrust lawyers, the two may have to divest products that could amount to a monopoly in the sector on merging.
Drugs for ophthalmology, cardiovascular diseases, as well as neurology could also evoke scrutiny as the combined company could wield an unfair advantage against competitors.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) is focusing its efforts on TV ads to promote new cancer drug Opdivo as it also looks to shrug competition from Merck& Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)’s Keytruda. In the latest TV ad, the company promises viewers a chance to live longer on using the drug. Opdivo bills itself as a reliable alternative to chemotherapy because of its survival advantage.
Opdivo and Keytruda are part of a new set of cancer drugs all marketed as treatments for certain types of melanoma and lung cancer. Opdivo was first approved in March for treating squamous forms of lung cancer while Keytruda received the FDA approval in October to treat lung cancer.
The campaign marks Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY)’s first push to promote its cancer drug and not the first in the industry. The campaign includes both print and digital ads. Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) has for some time ran a campaign for Neulasta, a drug it says helps bolster white blood cells count, significantly boosting the immune system ability to fight infections.
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