Sector News

Sanofi CEO’s strategy blueprint may include consumer health spinoff or merger: Bloomberg

November 21, 2019
Life sciences

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson has been on the job for just over two months, and he’s prepping for a big strategy reveal next month. One thing that might be behind that curtain? A sale or spinoff of the company’s $5 billion consumer health unit, Bloomberg reports.

Hudson, who took the reins at Sanofi Sept. 1, may choose to spin the unit out or merge it with another company’s outfit, according to the news service, which cites people familiar with the deliberations.

The company hasn’t decided for sure, Bloomberg says. And according to Sanofi, Hudson is looking at options across the entire company ahead of Capital Markets Day Dec. 10, when he’ll outline his plans for the French drugmaker.

“In preparation for this, all of our businesses are undergoing thorough reviews,” a Sanofi spokesperson said.

It’ll be the first detailed look at Hudson’s thinking. The former Novartis exec has talked only in general terms about his plans; instead, he’s been on a “listening tour,” visiting Sanofi operations around the world. He’s reviewing all of the company’s businesses—even diabetes, where the drugmaker has an established history but has faced challenges lately.

If the drugmaker does exit consumer healthcare, it wouldn’t be alone. GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer this year combined their consumer health outfits in a massive joint venture, and within three years, GSK plans to spin the company out as a standalone company.

Novartis previously sold its stake in a consumer healthcare JV back to GSK. The drugmaker also spun off its Alcon eyecare unit. And outside its consumer healthcare deal with GSK, Pfizer recently inked an agreement to merge its off-patent drugs business with Mylan to create a new company that’ll be called Viatris.

All of the moves are designed to help the pharma giants focus on innovative medicines at a time when drugmakers face a pricing squeeze, a battered reputation, political pressure and more.

Sanofi has already made steps to focus on innovative meds. The company’s former CEO Olivier Brandicourt last year inked buyouts of rare disease biotechs in 2018, picking up hemophilia-focused Bioverativ and nanobody biotech Ablynx in quick succession to start the year.

By Eric Sagonowsky

Source: Fierce Pharma

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