Under new CEO Paul Hudson, Sanofi has placed a huge emphasis on immunology blockbuster Dupixent with aims to grow sales to €10 billion or more per year. Amid new rollouts and a DTC campaign, the company is on track, the CEO said this week.
Dupixent sales reached €2.07 billion last year, and the med has been growing sales at about €100 million per quarter, Hudson told analysts Thursday as Sanofi reported fourth-quarter results.
But it’s still early days, execs said.
In most markets, the drug has only launched in atopic dermatitis and asthma. Sanofi plans 89 more Dupixent launches in 2020, a number that includes new indications and new markets, and both.
Sanofi just started U.S. direct-to-consumer advertising in asthma during the fourth quarter, and early signs are positive, Genzyme head Bill Sibold said on a conference call. Going forward, Sanofi plans to keep investing to build Dupixent into a “megabrand" in asthma and atopic dermatitis “in a continued and expanding fashion," Sibold said.
Overall in 2019, Sanofi reported global sales of €36.12 billion, a 3% increase from 2018 at constant exchange rates. Aside from Dupixent, vaccines chipped in toward growth with a 9.3% leap in sales to €5.7 billion. Sales for general medicines, which includes diabetes, cardiovascular and established products, fell 5.5% to €15.3 billion.
But there was a $186 million kick to the bottom line from its voluntary recall in Q4 for Zantac, which contributed to a loss of 1 center per share for the quarter.
China sales dragged in the fourth quarter as well due to the implementation of the country’s volume-based procurement program for older medicines. Chinese authorities implemented the program to cut prices for old meds and clear up budget room for new, innovative medicines. So far, higher volumes haven’t offset lower prices for Sanofi.
The company’s China sales dropped by 21% in the fourth quarter, and Sanofi expects Plavix and Aprovel sales in the key market to fall by 50% in 2020.
Looking forward to 2020, Sanofi forecasts earnings per share growth of 5% at constant exchange rates.
Hudson took the reins in Sanofi last September and has refocused the company to double down in areas where he believes Sanofi can succeed and downsize elsewhere. Along with that effort, the drugmaker kicked off a €2 billion savings program aimed at smarter and more efficient spending. In the fourth quarter, the company turned in a “pleasant surprise” on cost controls, ODDO BHF analysts wrote in a note to clients, as it strives for a 30% margin in 2022.