WIth Sanofi riding the tail end of the latest earnings wave, its sales and profits shortfall feels like more of the same. It hasn't been a good quarter for Big Pharma, and Sanofi's results fall right in line with the rest. Its 5.3% sales drop was less severe than most, while its profits suffered a bit more, with a 34% decline.
When can a drugmaker beat earnings expectations and project a 10% boost in profits for the year and still end up disappointing investors? When that drugmaker is Novo Nordisk, the world's largest insulin maker, focused on a rapidly growing treatment area with investors expecting more, more, more.
As new diabetes drug Tresiba inches its way toward approval, Novo Nordisk and rival Sanofi have put up dueling studies and generated dueling headlines. But their rivalry extends beyond those two headlining drugs, Bloomberg reports.
Sanofi had better not get complacent about its place in the diabetes drug market. Novo Nordisk's new chairman still has his sights focused squarely on the the U.S. market where Sanofi's long-acting Lantus now rules supreme.
It is little compensation for being shut out of the U.S. market with its best new product, but Novo Nordisk said it will price Tresiba at a premium in Europe, where the product is facing off against market leader Lantus.
The two partners are keeping the specific terms under wrap, but Mylan agreed to share the development costs of the three programs in exchange for commercialization rights in the critical European and U.S. markets.
Sanofi is ploughing new money into Genzyme's Irish manufacturing site again, but this time, it's not about a legacy Genzyme drug. The €44 million ($59 million) investment will fit the plant out for Lantus, Sanofi's megablockbuster diabetes treatment.
Sanofi's Lantus will remain the heavyweight champion awhile longer. The FDA sent Novo Nordisk back to the training room with its long-acting insulin Tresiba, leaving Lantus unchallenged in its class.
Where would Sanofi be without Lantus? The diabetes drug just keeps on churning up sales growth, quarter after quarter. In the fourth quarter, Lantus products grew by more than 22% to €1.33 billion. For the full year, the drug racked up almost €5 billion.
Novo Nordisk racked up some impressive gains in 2012: Sales up 18%, net profits up 25%, EPS up 30%, gross margin up 1.7 percentage points. And the company hiked its forecast for 2013, now that its new diabetes drug Tresiba has won European and Japanese approval--and the company has greater hope for an FDA nod.