Sanofi, still on CEO Paul Hudson's quest to slim down, offloads 17 drugs to Neuraxpharm

After similar deals in April and June, French pharma juggernaut Sanofi is selling off another clutch of established meds in a move consistent with CEO Paul Hudson’s “play to win” strategy.

Sanofi has entered a deal to hand over 17 products to central nervous system (CNS) specialist Neuraxpharm for an undisclosed sum. The drugs comprise two product portfolios for CNS disorders, pain and vascular diseases, Neuraxpharm said in a release.

The first portfolio consists of 15 meds for CNS disorders across psychiatry and neurology, Neuraxpharm explained. The roster includes drugs such as Nozinan, Tranxene, Tiapridal, Dogmatil and Largactil, which address diseases like depression, anxiety, psychosis, alcohol dependence, myasthenia gravis and Parkinson’s disease.

The pain and vascular portfolio, for its part, is made up of just two drugs: Topalgic and Trental.

Together, that suite of products is marketed globally in more than 50 countries, Neuraxpharm added. The 17 Sanofi molecules together make up 38 brands. 

Neuraxpharm says it inked the deal as a means to cement its position as one of the top CNS-focused specialty pharmas in Europe. Once armed with Sanofi’s 17-product arsenal, Neuraxpharm expects its yearly gross sales to clock in at around 600 million euros.

For Sanofi, meanwhile, the product sale seems to align with CEO Paul Hudson’s so-called play to win strategy, which aims to focus the company’s efforts on first-in-class or best-in-class drugs. Part and parcel to that strategy is a multibillion-euro cost-cutting program aimed at trimming spending in certain businesses, boosting operational efficiency and more.

In June, Sanofi sold its longtime partner Regeneron exclusive worldwide rights to the cancer med Libtayo for $900 million. Alongside cash upfront, Sanofi is in line to receive an 11% royalty on worldwide sales of Libtayo, plus $100 million in potential regulatory milestones and up to $100 million of sales-related milestone payments over the next to years.

Meanwhile, Sanofi in April offloaded the French rights to prolonged-release and divisible tablet formulations of lithium carbonate to Laboratoires Delbert, which focuses on the revival of essential medicines. Those products, marketed under the brand names Teralithe 250 mg and Teralithe LP 400 mg, aren’t huge money makers for Sanofi, which reaped sales of 37.8 billion euros ($40.3 billion) last year.

Elsewhere, the company charted a similarly sized product sale to the latest Neuraxpharm deal back in 2021. In late June of that year, Sanofi said it would pawn off 16 consumer health products to Germany’s Stada Arzneimittel.

Another major shift at Sanofi came in May, when the company officially launched the spinoff of its European drug ingredients business, dubbed EUROAPI. The Sanofi spinoff boasts a portfolio of roughly 200 active pharmaceutical ingredients that are expected to generate 1 billion euros in 2022, EUROAPI noted earlier this year. Meanwhile, Sanofi has kept hold of a roughly 30% stake in the company.

Editor's note: This story was updated to distinguish between the number of products and brands covered in Sanofi's sale.