Sanofi inks 3 distribution pacts in India and Korea for CNS drugs and vaccines

For various reasons, pharma firms often favor distribution pacts rather than relying on local subsidiaries to market their drugs. Now, French major Sanofi has enlisted three local companies to help enhance the profile of its medicines across South and East Asia.

Sanofi has inked deals with India’s Cipla and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, as well as South Korea’s SK Bioscience, to help sell its central nervous system (CNS) drugs and vaccines in those countries.

Concerning Cipla, the Indian manufacturer is set to market six Sanofi central nervous system (CNS) medicines, including the leading epilepsy med Frisium. Sanofi will continue to own, import and manufacture its full spectrum of CNS products, both in-country and internationally, according to a release.

"Cipla’s wide presence will enable us to expand the reach of this portfolio to healthcare professionals and patients across all India," Sanofi India managing director Rodolfo Hrosz said in a statement.

Also in India, Sanofi struck a vaccine distribution accord with Dr. Reddy's, which will help hawk adult and pediatric shots.

In South Korea, SK Bioscience will sell five Sanofi vaccines, including three for childhood diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTap), plus a similar vaccine for adults and a meningococcal shot dubbed Menactra.

The SK Bioscience deal spans the rest of 2024, with the potential to be expanded in the future. 

Sanofi’s outsourced marketing move mirrors similar strategies employed by Swiss drugmaker Novartis and British pharma powerhouse GSK.

Back in October, GSK announced a deal with Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products to help promote its shingles vaccine Shingrix in China. At the time, GSK hinted the pact could be a precursor to a similar arrangement between the companies for its new respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot Arexvy.

Meanwhile, back in February 2022, Novartis forged an exclusive sales and distribution pact with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories centered on certain established meds, including the pain-relief drug Voveran and Methergine, which is used to treat severe bleeding from the uterus after childbirth.

As part of the distribution sales move, Novartis announced that it would cut 400 jobs in India. At the time, the Swiss company employed more than 10,000 full-time staffers in the populous South Asian country.