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Sanofi CEO considers moving HQ out of Paris to cut costs

March 18, 2016
Life sciences

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 Sanofi’s new CEO Olivier Brandicourt is considering as he looks at all avenues to cut costs for the beleaguered French company.

Sources are telling Bloomberg that some Sanofi 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. Sanofi moved to its current location in 2012 from offices the southeastern corner of Paris, Bloomberg said. A Sanofi spokesperson declined to comment.

The drugmaker might not have to move all 700 employees since Brandicourt’s belt-tightening also involves whacking a reported 250 employees from its commercial operations and corporate offices. It also is said to be leaving about 300 jobs in its R&D operations unfilled to further trim expenses.

The French cuts are part of the €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.

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 violated some patents on a competing PCSK9 drug from Amgen. 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.

By Eric Palmer

Source: Fierce Pharma

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