Avapro (Sanofi)
Patent expiry: March 2012

Total 2012 sales: $1.925 billion
2012 sales Sanofi: $1.422 billion
2012 sales BMS: $503 million

Total 2011 sales: $2.749 billion
2011 sales Sanofi: $1.797 billion
2011 sales BMS: $952 million
Total Change: (30%)

It is not a question of what the blood pressure med Avapro has done for Sanofi ($SNY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) this year, but what it has done to them. The damage has been substantial. After losing patent protection in March 2012 on the shared product, combined sales are off more than $800 million.

The two companies were partnered up not only on Avapro but also on blood thinner Plavix, which also went off patent last year, and the twin hits have wreaked havoc on the sales and earnings of both companies. With the handwriting on the wall and blood on the balance sheet, BMS last year gave Sanofi back the rights to both drugs. After all, both companies were spending time, money and other resources on promoting the drugs--even as sales bled away.

The companies are handling the patent losses in different ways. Oh sure, both have cut lots of jobs--or tried to in Sanofi's case. But the French drugmaker is diversified and also has its superblockbuster insulin product Lantus to fall back on. CEO Chris Viehbacher has predicted that with the patent cliff crunch behind it, investors can expect growth starting with the second quarter. BMS continued to see its finances suffer in the first quarter of this year, with a 27% revenue drop and 44% earnings hit, in large part because of the loss of Avapro, but got some lift from new drugs. Its much-anticipated anticoagulant drug Eliquis, a warfarin alternative, isn't throwing up big numbers yet, but it has the potential to be the kind of blockbuster that Plavix and Avapro once were.

For more:
Sanofi sales, profits fall short, but CEO sticks to growth promises
Sanofi, Bristol revamp Plavix partnership for post-patent world


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