Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY) has announced the shaking up of its management team amidst slumping diabetes sales and impending biosimilar competition for its lead insulin product Lantus. The change up is in line with CEO Olivier Brandicourt’s roadmap that was unveiled last November, alongside the promise of revitalizing Sanofi’s key diabetes business.
Pascale Witz, Executive Vice President of Diabetes & Cardiovascular will be leaving the company on June 1. Witz joined the company in July 2013 and had been championing for a patient-focused integration approach. She was critical in signing important collaboration including with Verily Life Science and Hanmi Pharmaceuticals.
Carsten Hellmann, Executive Vice President of Merial Limited, will be the new president and CEO of ALK though he will stay with Sanofi until the end of the year for the purpose of supporting the strategic business swap project with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Sanofi is expected to name a new Vice President of Consumer Health (CHC) who will be a member of the Executive Committee. The named individual will be responsible for leading a newly created CHC global business unit that will be formed due to the anticipation of the completion of swap deals of Sanofi’s animal health business with Merial and Boehringer Ingelheim.
The Diabetes and Cardiovascular segment has been under the spotlight though. Its unit sales slipped by 5.8% during the first quarter primarily influenced by a big decline in Lantus sales. Last October, the French drug maker noted that diabetes sales had dropped and was expected to continue dropping.
Sanofi had hoped to rev up newly launched drugs including Toujeo to help fill the gap at a time when Lantus was facing biosimilar competition. Unfortunately, these roll outs did not go as planned. Toujeo struggled to gain basal insulin share while inhalable insulin product Afrezza from Mannkind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) never got off the ground.
Sanofi is currently in the thick of a hostile bid for U.S.-based cancer specialist Medivation Inc. (NASDAQ:MDVN). This deal is expected to bring an immediate saleS boost to Medivation’s prostate cancer line. However, several other big biopharmas are reportedly in the hunt as well, and Medivation has so far refused to be engaged with Sanofi.