With big launches on tap, Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson touts company's 'new steady state'

During his nearly four years as Sanofi's CEO, Paul Hudson has made changes aimed at refocusing the drugmaker around innovative drug launches. Now, he believes the company is nearing its "new steady state."

Sanofi is in the early stages of launching two of what Hudson calls "first-in-class" and "best-in-class" medicines. Those are Altuviiio for hemophilia A and Beyfortus, an antibody designed to protect infants from RSV. While those drugs aren't generating major sales yet, executives shared enthusiasm about them on a conference call with analysts Thursday.

The launches should gain steam this year, and, by the end of the year, Hudson said he expects the company to be in its "new steady state." The new Sanofi is "all about new launches, new data" and innovative drugs, he added.

“We feel like we are becoming a very, very different company and still delivering the financial performance," he told analysts on the company's first-quarter earnings conference call.

Shortly after Hudson joined Sanofi in 2019, he deprioritized the company's research in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and doubled down in areas such as immunology and vaccines.

Aside from Sanofi's Altuviiio and Beyfortus launches, much of the company's efforts center on immunology superstar Dupixent. After generating 2.32 billion euros in the first quarter of 2023, the drug is tracking to reach 10 billion euros in global sales this year, Sanofi execs said Thursday.

Dupixent recently turned in positive phase 3 results in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Sanofi expects to submit regulatory filings in that disease next year, according to an investor presentation (PDF).

As for the company's overall financial performance, Sanofi pulled down 10.22 billion euros in global sales during the first quarter, a 5.5% increase at constant exchange rates. Specialty care sales jumped 18%, thanks largely to Dupixent, while revenues from vaccines grew 15% from 2022's first quarter.

On the flip side, general medicines sales fell by 11%, Sanofi said. And within specialty care, sales from the company's neurology, oncology and rheumatology offerings fell by nearly 18%. 

Sanofi recently lost U.S. exclusivity for multiple sclerosis pill Aubagio, so declining sales for that medicine will drag on the company's financial performance throughout the rest of the year. Still, as Sanofi moves into the rest of the decade, Hudson touted a portfolio without major losses of exclusivity and the potential for growth.

Specifically, Sanofi wants to be an industry leader in immunology by generating more than 22 billion euros in sales from that field by 2030. The company also wants to double its vaccine sales by 2030, using 2018's 5.11 billion euros as the starting point for that goal.