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Published on 31/03/15 at 02:30pm

2014 net sales: €33,770M 

Biggest drug: Lantus (insulin glargine), with 2014 sales of $6.8 billion

The current form of Sanofi, France’s biggest pharma firm, emerged from Sanofi-Synthelabo’s acquisition of Aventis in 2004, and it changed its name to simply ‘Sanofi’ in 2011.

But the history of the many companies it has acquired over the years can be traced as far back as 1718 with the founding of Laboratoires Midy, which was bought by the firm in 1980.

Diabetes in particular remains a key focus for the company with its insulin product Lantus being its best-selling drug by a considerable margin, and 2014 saw it sign a $925 million deal to market MannKind’s Afrezza, the world’s only approved inhaled insulin. 

Lantus is due to begin losing patency this year which will be a huge blow for the firm – but it does have a potential follow-up in Toujeo (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection, 300 U/mL), which was recently approved by the FDA.

Diabetes products were one of the key factors in the company’s increase in turnover in 2014. They saw a growth of 11% in the fourth quarter, with Lantus contributing to $1.9 billion in sales

Revenues were also boosted by high margins from the Sanofi’s biotech arm Genzyme, which registered $800 million in sales of multiple sclerosis and rare disease products, and growth in the US and emerging markets. Overall, year-on-year revenues reached $36 billion, an increase of 4.9% from 2013.

Sanofi is pinning its hopes of a 2015 sales increase on its Phase III product pipeline – which includes cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent (alirocumab) and a dengue virus vaccine. It predicts a “stable to slightly growth versus 2014 at constant average exchange rates, barring major unforeseen adverse events”.

It started the year with two new deals – a $745 million gene therapy agreement with US firm Voyager Therapeutics, and an autoimmune diseases collaboration pact with Dutch biotech Lead Pharma – but also a disappointment, when its investigational diabetes drug lixisenatide showed no cardiovascular safety benefit compared to a placebo in a Phase IIIb study.

The most significant news, though, has been the appointment of a new chief executive – Olivier Brandicourt, who the company poached from Bayer. He replaces Chris Viehbacher, who was ousted by the board after they lost patience with his leadership style.

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