Insanity

Insanity

There’s an old saying that insanity is performing the same behavior over and over again yet expecting a different result. This is what we thought of when our wine drinking friends in France, who must be drinking heavily these days, announced a licensing agreement with Hanmi Pharmaceuticals to develop long-acting diabetes treatments. According to a jointly issued press release;

“Under the terms of the agreement, Hanmi will receive an upfront payment of €400 million and is eligible for up to €3.5 billion in development, registration and sales milestones, as well as double digit royalties on net sales. Sanofi will obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize 1.) efpeglenatide, a late-stage long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP1-RA); 2.) a weekly insulin and 3.) a fixed-dosed weekly GLP-1-RA/insulin drug combination. Collectively, these therapeutic offerings are known as the “Quantum Project” utilizing Hanmi’s proprietary Long Acting Protein / Peptide Discovery Platform LAPSCOVERY technology. Hanmi will retain an exclusive option to co-commercialize the products in Korea and China. “

Now hate to break the news to our wine drinking friends but alias they are once again a day and a dollar short. Once again the company is filling their pipeline with me-too copycat late to market drugs which offer no compelling advantage over what the competition has. It is well known that AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) are working on once-monthly GLP-1’s. Novo and Lilly are working on longer acting insulins and everyone and their mother has a GLP-1/Insulin combo product.

This “Quantum Project” is a quantum leap back to the same old, same old for Sanofi (NYSE:SNY).

Listen if this is the kind of innovative thinking Olivier will talk about tomorrow when he finally reveals his strategic vision for the company watch out. Perhaps however Olivier hasn’t completely lost his marbles and will terminate the partnership with MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) and use the savings to pay for this deal. This would be ironic as it would put the final nail in the beheaded Chris Viehbacher coffin and prove that Olivier too can make bad decisions when choosing who to partner with in diabetes.

The fact of the matter when it comes to their diabetes franchise the ship continues to take on water and it’s time to fill the lifeboats. Given what Olivier stated when the company announced earnings tomorrows investor day won’t be a pleasant one for anyone in the diabetes unit as major layoffs will surely be part of Olivier strategic vision. That no matter how hard he tries there is just no way to sugar coat the dismal performance of Afrezza and less than stellar performance of Toujeo. Try as he might to say that LixiLan will save the day everyone knows this is just the French way for putting lipstick on a pig.

We had hoped things would really be different with Olivier now in charge, that he would not repeat the mistakes which costs his predecessor his head. Yet this deal shows that Viehbacher isn’t the only one who can make bad bets in diabetes. Not to worry however as Olivier unlike Chis is unlikely to be beheaded, that is as long as he keeps kissing Serge’s behind.