JP Morgan Day Two Morning Session

JP Morgan Day Two Morning Session

Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) – All in with a vengeance.

If it wasn’t clear before just how important diabetes is to Sanofi Aventis, today’s presentation and corresponding breakout session should leave no doubt. When it comes to the diabetes market Sanofi is all in and all in with a vengeance.  Understanding that Lantus, the world’s number one selling insulin, will face patent expiration in a few short years the company is aggressively moving into total life cycle diabetes management.

Diabetic Investor could not believe our ears when the their CEO actually stated in his prepared remarks that Sanofi wanted to do more than sell patients drugs and devices but actually help them better manage their diabetes and that educating patients was actually part of their strategy.  Imagine that, a CEO of a major pharmaceutical company publicly stating that you can sell more insulin and devices if you actually educate the patient.  Diabetic Investor actually had to pinch ourselves as we thought this couldn’t really be happening and thought we were dreaming this whole thing.

Another group of people who should be pinching themselves are the good folks at AgaMatrix. Although the company publicly acknowledge the launch of the BGStar and iBGStar will be slightly delayed until the second half of this year, there is no question they are all in when it comes to these devices. And as Diabetic Investor has stated in the past the company believes these new meters will actually help them sell more insulin.

While it may have gone unnoticed by many there was some not so good news when they noted lixisenatide, their once-daily GLP-1 under development, won’t be submitted to the FDA until the second half of 2012. In perhaps an unintended jab at the FDA, the company noted they will be submitting lixisenatide to EU regulators in the second half of this year and pointedly noted that the reason they can’t go to the FDA before the second half of 2012 is the additional burdens the FDA is placing on them. As noted previously Diabetic Investor had feared that the obsessive requirements of the FDA would force companies to change their tactics and submit new drug applications to EU regulators first and the FDA second. Simply put, the FDA is indirectly denying patients new and better medications that will be available elsewhere in the world. 

As impressed as Diabetic Investor was with the presentation and the answers to the many diabetes related questions in the breakout session, this commitment to diabetes still comes down to the ability to execute.  The main concern here is not their belief in new technologies or their out of the box non-traditional thinking; in some respects this is actually very refreshing. However, Diabetic Investor wonders if their thinking is too far out of the box and ignoring some fundamental facts about the diabetes market and how patients manage their diabetes in the real world. As we noted before JPM began the key question is can the company find that delicate balance between experience and new ideas to pull off their ambitious diabetes strategy.

Still it was gratifying to actually hear a CEO state what we have known for years, education is not just good for the patient but also good for the company.

Although not presenting until tomorrow afternoon, Insulet (NASDAQ:PODD) should have plenty to talk about.  As Diabetic Investor accurately reported Charlie Liamos is coming as COO but this appears to be just the beginning of changes at the company. Diabetic Investor has also learned that Bill Arthur, the head of business development is leaving the company.  Although the company has yet to make an official announcement, one has to wonder given the current environment just what will happen next. It will also be interesting to see how the companies functions with Mr. Liamos, an Insulet board member, reporting to current CEO Duane DeSisto. One thing is for sure, the next few quarters should be very interesting.