By Alex Keown
Nearly two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent as an add-on maintenance therapy for moderate to severe asthma, the France-based company reported a surge in sales for the medication in its most recent quarterly report.
In its quarterly announcement, Sanofi said that Dupixent, which was developed in collaboration with Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Regeneron, generated sales of €225 ($255 million) million in the third quarter compared to €75 ($85 million) million in the third quarter of 2017. In the United States, sales of Dupixent jumped 152 percent to €189 ($214) in the quarter. Citing IQVIA data, Sanofi said demand for Dupixent remained strong in the quarter, with 63,000 patients having been prescribed the medication. Total prescriptions increased 16 percent sequentially during the quarter, Sanofi said.
Dupixent, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year as a treatment for atopic dermatitis, inhibits signaling of IL-4 and IL-13, two key cytokines involved with the inflammation associated with dermatitis, a Type 2 allergic inflammatory disease.
That growth in Dupixent sales helped Sanofi’s net sales grow 3.7 percent during the quarter to €9.3 billion ($10.54 billion). The company saw gains from its Sanofi Genzyme division, with a 36.1 percent increase in sales, primarily driven by its immunology and rare blood disorder franchise. The company’s vaccine business also grew by about 8.2 percent during the third quarter.
“With the performance we delivered in the third-quarter, Sanofi has returned to growth. We have delivered on our promise to shareholders, while bringing important new medicines and treatments to patients around the world,” Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt said in a statement.
Brandicourt emphasized that the company has entered a new growth phase. He said Sanofi saw double-digit growth in Specialty Care and Emerging Markets, while Vaccines contributed a high-single-digit increase in sales. The company is also expanding its specialty care business with the launches of Libtayo, a checkpoint inhibitor co-developed with Regeneron for the treatment of metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma; Cablivi, which was approved in Europe for the blood-clotting disorder thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura; and Dupixent for asthma.
Citing Leerink analysts, PMLive said the latest approval for Dupixent could be the spark that sends the drug over the $7.5 billion mark in annual sales. The asthma indication alone could be worth $2.5 billion, the Leerink analysts suggested, according to PMLive.
“Based on the underlying dynamics demonstrated in the quarter, Sanofi is now well positioned to deliver growth,” Brandicourt added.
The positive report for the quarter sent a signal to investors to snap up shares of Sanofi. The stock is up nearly 5 percent in pre-market trading to $45.25 per share, up from Tuesday’s closing price of $43.23.
The positive news Dupixent had on Sanofi also spilled over to its developmental partner Regeneron. Alethia Young, an analyst with Cantor Fitzgerald, believes the positive third-quarter report from Sanofi will cause investors to also snap up shares of Regeneron, according to Seeking Alpha.
The two companies certainly aren’t done with Dupixent. In May of this year, the companies signaled plans to seek regulatory approval for Dupixent as a potential monotherapy treatment for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in adolescents. The companies are also looking at Dupixent as a potential treatment for adults with inadequately-controlled chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.