Lovenox copycat sucks market share from Sanofi

If you had any lingering doubt that biosimilar drugs will shake up the market for branded meds, here's a remedy. A generic version of Sanofi-Aventis' Lovenox blood thinner--enoxaparin--has surged onto the scene, racking up almost $300 million in sales during its first 69 days on the market. The early success is cutting into Lovenox's market in a big way and could even affect Sanofi's ongoing bid for Genzyme, analysts say.

Enoxaparin isn't a full-blown biotech drug, but it is more complicated to make than your small-molecule meds, and its approval was seen as something of an indicator about FDA's future review process for biosimilars. Key to the generic enoxaparin's success is that the FDA made it substitutable for the branded version.

The enoxaparin launch has gone even better than its makers Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz, the generics arm of Novartis, had expected. The drug is already on track to become a blockbuster product, analysts say.

And it's already captured about 60 percent of Lovenox's market share, Boston Business Journal reports. That can't be good news for Sanofi, which hadn't expected FDA to approve a generic version of the drug so soon--in fact, Sanofi has sued FDA to reverse the approval. Analysts think the Lovenox competition makes Sanofi's craving to buy Genzyme even more intense. Because of Momenta's enoxaparin success, Rodman & Renshaw analyst Simos Simeonidis predicts, "[W]e don't [expect the] low ball first offer of $69 per share for Genzyme to last much longer." 

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