After announcing the end of the clinical development of amcenestrant, an anti-breast cancer molecule, the action of Sanofi fell by almost 5% on the Paris Stock Exchange.
Sick August for Sanofi. The pharmaceutical giant, whose image has already suffered from the difficulties of creating an anti-Covid vaccine, is now worrying the markets in the face of a gathering of bad news. “Sanofi has concluded the global clinical development program for amcenestrant“, announced this Wednesday the group, which lowered its share by almost 5% on the Paris Stock Exchange. This molecule is intended to fight against some advanced breast cancers. But Sanofi noted the insufficient conclusion clinical trials.
For the group, this is a new bad news after early August has already been overwhelmed by unprecedented confidence in the markets for many years, its title has lost more than 15% since July . True, Sanofi’s image has been lost to most of the public because of the delays and difficulties in developing an anti-Covid vaccine. However, this topic does not really worry investors. However, if Sanofi’s recent problems are less visible to many, they are considered more problematic for its prospects.
The markets did not react well to the failure of amcenestrant in a context where Sanofi has refocused more in recent years on the fight against cancer, to the detriment of the diabetes market in particular. Unlike smaller pharmaceutical groups, an isolated failure does not threaten the future of Sanofi, but risks making the group less attractive to investors.
According to Cowen Bank analysts, amcenestrant sales should represent 350 million euros in 2027, compared to approximately 38 billion euros in revenue earned by the group last year.
For some observers, the group’s main communication is in question: the bad results of the treatment have been known since March, but Sanofi did not immediately decide to abandon it. “Investors will, rightly, be skeptical of the leaders’ speech“, said Wimal Kapadia, analyst of the company Bernstein, as quoted by the agency Bloomberg.
Concerns about litigation
But, in general, the failure of this cancer drug has raised a major concern among Sanofi analysts: is the group too dependent on its flagship drug, Dupixent? This drug, which is used mainly against asthma and some skin diseases, currently allows Sanofi to see the life of the pink whose sales have increased significantly. But Dupixent now accounts for a fifth of the group’s revenue, and investors are concerned about its difficulties in developing new treatments.
Before stopping amcenestrant, Sanofi had already worried the markets by suspending trials of a treatment for multiple sclerosis, tolebrutinib. It is not a question, this time, of a definitive rejection. Serious problems have been found in some patients, and Sanofi needs to establish if there is a direct link, before it is possible to continue the tests. However, this disruption is, to say the least, a major setback. And his announcement was not very well received because it comes amid renewed concerns on another front, judicial this time.
Investors are concerned about the financial consequences of a dispute over a treatment, Zantac, long sold in the United States and Canada against heartburn but removed from the market in 2019. Studies have actually established that it that treatment degrades the body into a carcinogenic component, although it has not been proven that it actually causes cancer. However, the first trials will open this month in the United States, with patients accusing Sanofi and other groups of contributing to their cancer by selling Zantac.
Is this for Sanofi the beginning of a case similar to Dépakine? The group has been facing justice for a long time because of this anti-epileptic which is responsible for many diseases in children who are exposed in their mother’s womb. It is too early to say, however, underline some analysts, who consider it difficult to establish a link with such an accurate treatment as a pain reliever, and for whom Sanofi quickly reacted from the first concerned studies.
“The possible impact seems difficult to quantify now“, estimate cabinet analysts Oddo, who judged “surplus» the reaction of the markets.
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