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Sanofi pulls the plug on two late-stage drugs

PARIS (Reuters) - Sanofi has stopped work on two drugs in late-stage development, iniparib and otamixaban, after tests showed both treatments failed to meet their main goals.

The drugmaker, which has been looking to its development pipeline to drive growth after the loss of patents covering several blockbusters, said on Monday it would discontinue the development of cancer treatment iniparib, which it had been testing as a therapy for a type of lung cancer, and would book a charge of $285 million after tax in its first-half accounts.

Sanofi acquired the drug as part of its 2009 acquisition of U.S. cancer specialist BiPar Sciences for up to $500 million.

Sanofi said the charge will have no impact on its closely watched business net income, which excludes items such as amortization and legal costs.

The company has also discontinued anticoagulant otamixaban after it failed to meet its main goal of superiority over a current therapy in reducing mortality or new heart attacks during a late-stage trial.

Sanofi will not book any charges for the discontinuation of otamixaban, a spokeswoman said.

Shares in Sanofi, which have gained around 15 percent of their value since the start of 2013, closed at 82.51 euros on Friday.

"We were not particularly hopeful concerning these drugs and the consensus had not modeled potential sales generated by them. Consequently, this announcement will not have an impact on long-term market expectations," said a Paris-based trader.

Iniparib had been forecast to book annual sales of $360 million by 2018, while otamixaban was expected to generate sales of $270 million a year, according to Thomson Reuters Pharma forecasts.

The results of both studies will be presented at upcoming scientific meetings and will be published in peer-reviewed journals.

(Reporting by Elena Berton and Blaise Robinson; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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