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Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY)
On May 25, another FDA panel voted 12-2 in favor of approving iGlarLixi from Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY), again surely causing Steve Jobs to make another long iRoll of his iEyes in iHeaven. Up until a few days ago the combo was called LixiLan. Sanofi, like its competitor Novo, decided to Apple-ize its combination medication in the hopes that diabetes patients would associate it with their iPhones or some such thing. We wonder if Apple has a patent on the iPrefex. If it does, both Sanofi and Novo are in deep trouble.
iGlarLixi is the same concept as iDegLira, though approval (or the recommendation of it in this case) is actually pretty important for Sanofi because the combination drug will bring some sales back to its flagging flagship insulin product Lantus. If patients want the combination drug instead of taking both separately, they’ll have to use branded Lantus instead of generic competition. We said that the stock could jump 5-10% on the news. It did jump 2.5% so far and has stayed in that range since the panel recommendation. The fact that shares have stayed in that range indicates that the recommendation for approval here was more important for Sanofi than the approval of iDegLira was for Novo Nordisk.
The main difference between the two drugs is the way the insulin is dissolved. Novo’s uses acid chain links that slowly break down. Sanofi’s glargine comes in crystallized form that slowly dissolves in the blood. Whichever one patients use just depends on personal preference and what works best for them.
Sanofi happens to be in a hostile takeover battle with Medivation Inc. (NASDAQ:MDVN) right now, as they are trying to change its entire board in order to approve their offer for the company. In the short term this is going to have a greater effect on the share price than anything coming from the direction of iGlarLixi. Still though, shares are at 2012 levels and biotech looks like it is in recovery mode. A position in Sanofi can be taken and held for the long term, and added to on any dip resulting from the situation with Medivation.