JPM 2022: Sanofi has designs on creating Big Pharma's 'strongest' immunology franchise, CFO says

Sanofi has been no stranger to the biopharma dealmaking circuit under CEO Paul Hudson, and last year it inked a handful of biotech buyouts for mRNA, an FDA-approved transplant med and more. But Sanofi's busy 2021 doesn't mean the company will shy away from potential future deals, its CFO said.

During a Q&A session at the virtual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Sanofi's chief financial officer Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon said the company's experience with eczema blockbuster Dupixent has it wanting to grow more in immunology. Thanks to its efforts to build slowly in the space and understand different products' mechanisms of action, Sanofi has high ambitions in the field, he noted. 

"We are really feeling that we can build the strongest franchise in immunology among big pharma," Sanofi's CFO said.

In general, Chasseloup de Chatillon said Sanofi wants to continue "building on our strengths" with its capital spending. And the drugmaker has plenty of recent dealmaking experience to work from.

Last year alone, the company inked buyouts with Kymab, Tidal Therapeutics, Translate Bio, Kadmon Holdings, Origimm Biotechnology and Amunix. The deals expanded the company's presence in immunology, immuno-oncology and vaccines. With the Kadmon deal, Sanofi picked up the newly approved transplant rejection med Rezurock.

RELATED: Sanofi's €10B sales target for Dupixent? The 'megabrand' is more than halfway there, exec says

After Hudson joined Sanofi in 2019 as CEO, he kicked off a "play to win" strategy, which sought to center the company's efforts around first-in-class or best-in-class drugs. Along with that strategy came a 2 billion euro cost-cutting program aimed at trimming spending in certain businesses, improving efficiency in operations and more.

As of early last year, Sanofi had already achieved 1.7 billion euros in savings, so it added another 500 euros million to the target at the time. Speaking Tuesday, Chasseloup de Chatillon said the cost-savings program is creating "room" for the drugmaker to strike business development deals.

“Each time we make enough room, we go on to add science and value to our pipeline," he said.

RELATED: With €1.7B in savings in the bank, Sanofi pumps up its cost-cutting target by €500M

Any new immunology products or pipeline candidates that Sanofi picks up through dealmaking will complement the company's blockbuster Dupixent, which is generating about 6 billion euros annually as of the third quarter of 2021. The company figures the medicine has room to run and can reach 10 billion euros or more in annual sales. 

Meanwhile, the company has also placed an emphasis on vaccines and is anticipating COVID-19 booster and primary vaccination data for its GlaxoSmithKline-partnered program, vaccines chief Thomas Triomphe said Tuesday at JPM.