UPDATED: Sanofi determined to get Medivation as sales slide

Sanofi's headquarters in Paris

Big Pharma player Sanofi has changed its top leader but CEO Olivier Brandicourt has been unable to keep the drugmaker’s trajectory from heading down. Sanofi is hoping that its proposed buyout of Medivation will tilt the numbers back up, but first it has to get the deal done.

The French drugmaker today reported that in constant currencies, its net income was off 11% percent to €1.16 billion ($1.29 billion) on sales that were down 4.3% to €8.14 billion ($9 billion), although they were up 1.3% in the U.S. to €3.1 billion. It reported non-GAAP EPS of €1.31 which was slightly higher than consensus of €1.30, and said it expects 2016 full-year results to be steady. Its results were generally in line with analyst expectations.

As for the buyout of biotech Medivation, Bloomberg reports that Brandicourt said in an early morning conference call that the companies are in a new phase of discussion that he expects will be more productive. He said the company would remain "disciplined" in its process. “There is no certainty in terms of timing but we are ready clearly to move quickly,” he said.

Medivation would bring the cancer drug Xtandi as well as two experimental products, allowing Sanofi to boost its so-so cancer drug sales.

Sanofi’s ($SNY) first offer to Medivation of $9.3 billion, or $52.50 a share, was flatly rejected. Then the French company raised that to $58 per share in cash and $3 in the form of a contingent value right if the California company’s cancer candidate talazoparib comes through, but again Medivation said “no go.” Other biopharmas are said to be interested in Medivation, Pfizer and Amgen among them.

But there has also been a hint that Brandicourt might have a plan B in case he can’t pull off the Medivation deal. Reports have said Sanofi might have an interest in rare disease specialist BioMarin. During a call with analysts, Olivier said a "mega-merger" was not in the cards for Sanofi but that it might do "midsize deals" up to $20 billion to strengthen some areas of focus, like oncology. 

There were a few bright spots for the drugmaker. Sales in specialty care were up 19.5% to €1.5 billion. Animal health--which it is trading off to Boehringer Ingelheim for the German company’s consumer health operations--were up 9.1% to €725 million and vaccines were up 6.3% to €797 million. After that it was a long list of declines in sales for its once-vaunted diabetes portfolio, established products, generics and consumer health.

Sanofi was hurt not only by currency issues in Venezuela, but also by last year's issues in that market when the company had discovered its division there had presold many drugs. As a result, sales in Venezuela were €6 million in Q2 2016, compared to €199 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Pharmaceuticals in Q2 were down 1.7% to €7.34 billion, offset only by improved results from its multiple sclerosis and rare disease franchises. It said second-quarter sales of MS drug Lemtrada were €108 million compared with €56 million in Q2 2015, including €56 million in the U.S., up 96.6%.  It reported €21 million in sales for Praluent, its new-gen cholesterol fighter developed with Regeneron ($REGN), and said negations with payers continue to expand its use. 

- here’s the earnings release
- here are remarks from the CEO
- more from Bloomberg

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