UPDATED: Sanofi denies that CEO considers moving HQ out of Paris

Sanofi's Paris headquarters

When Big Pharma companies get fed up with real estate costs in New York, they move to New Jersey. When they get tired of the high costs of Paris, they apparently move to Gentilly. At least that is what Bloomberg reported that Sanofi's new CEO Olivier Brandicourt was considering as he looks at all avenues to cut costs for the beleaguered French company. Sanofi, which Initially declined to comment to Bloomberg, denied the report Saturday.

In a follow-up statement to FiercePharma the company said: "Sanofi has no intention to leave its headquarters located at La Boétie where a large majority of the Corporate functions are located. The information published by Bloomberg that Sanofi is planning to move its Corporate headquarters to Gentilly is false."

Sources had told Bloomberg that some Sanofi ($SNY) employees already work in offices in Gentilly about 6 kilometers south of Paris. Moving the 700 workers from its headquarters in the Belle Epoque building in central Paris to the suburbs could save the drugmaker several million euros a year, the sources said.

The French drugmaker has been making cuts as part of a €1.5 billion reduction in costs ($1.6 billion) promised in November by Brandicourt, who has put in place a companywide overhaul aimed at restoring Sanofi's fortunes. As part of that, Sanofi recently agreed to trade its animal health unit to Boehringer Ingelheim for the German drugmaker's consumer health business and about €4.7 billion in cash.

Paris and Gentilly

Sanofi, maker of blockbuster Lantus, is under financial pressure from slowing sales of its prized diabetes franchise. Brandicourt has half a dozen drugs he was looking at to help the drugmaker get back on track. But the company this week ran into a significant hurdle for one of those, Praluent, its new cholesterol-fighting drug.

A U.S. jury found that Praluent from Sanofi and partner Regeneron ($REGN) violated some patents on a competing PCSK9 drug from Amgen ($AMGN). If the decision holds, or even if Sanofi settles, the drugmaker will face paying royalties. Some analysts say those payments could run more than 20% of revenues for Praluent, a drug for which peak sales have been pegged at $3 billion.

- read the Bloomberg story