Sanofi CEO: No deals? No problem

Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher

Pharma is riding an M&A deal wave like none the industry has ever seen, with companies looking to shed noncore businesses and bulk up in areas they want to focus on. But Sanofi? Not interested, CEO Chris Viehbacher says.

"Unlike everybody else, we feel we've got critical mass in all of our businesses," he told Bloomberg in an interview.

With Big Pharma peers Novartis ($NVS), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Eli Lilly ($LLY), Bayer and Merck ($MRK) racking up a record $139 billion in deals so far this quarter--not to mention the failed $117 billion play Pfizer ($PFE) made for AstraZeneca ($AZN)--Sanofi's ($SNY) name has come up more than once in the melee. But despite reports that it's had its eye on up-for-grabs assets, Viehbacher insists the French company is happy where it is.

As the news service points out, Sanofi this year forecast its first annual profit increase in four years after generics took down high-flyers like blood thinner Plavix. The company expects to ride back to growth on the backs of new multiple sclerosis treatments Aubagio and Lemtrada, and it has a portfolio of rare-disease candidates waiting in the wings thanks to its $20.1 billion Genzyme pickup in 2011.

"I am feeling great about what we have; I haven't felt this great in years," Viehbacher said.

But that doesn't mean he'll be putting the blinders on. As the hunt-or-be-hunted craze continues, white knight opportunities could open up; Allergan ($AGN), looking to dodge Valeant's ($VRX) pursuit, reportedly reached out to the Paris-based pharma last month. And analysts have suggested Sanofi could go after the apple of Shire's ($SHPG) eye, NPS Pharmaceuticals, whose rare-disease offerings make it a logical target for either drugmaker.

With valuations soaring, though, the cost of dealmaking is high, Viehbacher noted.

"We look constantly at everything just to make sure that we are not missing an opportunity, but at today's prices I don't see anything that I can acquire that strengthens our company and creates value for our shareholders," he said, adding, "I am very glad I did most of my M&A activity from 2009 to 2011."

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