Yes, the champagne is popping and the chardonnay is flowing as the French national soccer team, known as Le Bleu, defeated Belgium yesterday to advance to the finals of the World Cup. Although we haven’t spoken with any of our wine drinking friends you can bet the folks at Sanofi are happier than pigs in slop. For not only has Le Bleu reached the pinnacle of the soccer world the Tour De France is also going on. On top of that the Ryder Cup will take place in France as well this year right before EASD.
All of a sudden France has become for the moment anyway the center of the sports universe.
Before we go on we will state for the record it will be one of the greatest days ever when Team Novo participates in the Tour. We cannot think of a finer organization that is worthy of everyone’s support.
Now onto business as it may not seem there is a connection between Le Bleu and our friends at Sanofi. Le Bleu is obviously a well-run organization that has reached the top of the soccer. On the flip side Sanofi is well Sanofi an organization that has a gift for turning gold into sand. Had Sanofi been running Le Bleu the team would have been lucky to make it out of the group stage let alone reach the finals.
Perhaps Sanofi will learn a lesson from Le Bleu and begin to do something they have never done, come up with a plan in diabetes that works. With the exception of Lantus, the goose that once laid the golden eggs for the company, the company’s track record is about as good as the American national soccer team which didn’t even qualify for the World Cup. But then again football in America is game played by some very large individuals with lots of scoring. Millions of Americans don’t wake up every Sunday in the fall to see the Chicago Bears defeat the Green Bay Packers 1-nil. But we digress.
We’d like to compare Sanofi to the New England Patriots as like the Patriots the company just loves to throw money around. However, unlike the Patriots who have won their share of Super Bowls Sanofi has little if anything to show for all the money they have spent. Whereas the Patriots seem to have a keen eye for talent, Sanofi has keen eye for picking the worst possible projects.
Let’s take a look at the most recent project, their partnership with Google which by all accounts is performing as well as Sanofi’s other diabetes partnerships. Meaning basically, it’s going nowhere in a hurry. At the end of the ADA OnDuo, that’s the official name of the Sanofi Google partnership, announced that they too are getting into the insulin pump business. And like so many others who want to have their heads bashed in by Medtronic they decided better to start from ground zero than to buy an established player.
It never seems to dawn on any of these companies who want to be in the insulin pump market that scale is critical and if they are really intent on wasting millions of dollars the fastest way to achieve scale is to buy an existing insulin pump company. Nope instead of buying Animas from JNJ or Tandem when it had a market cap of just $30 million better to partner with a company that has nothing more than a way cool whiz bang PowerPoint presentation. Better to start with nothing, no product, no patients and no infrastructure.
What’s even crazier here and believe us that’s saying something it won’t surprise us one bit if one of these companies realize they screwed up with this start from nothing approach and buys Tandem for over a billion bucks. Only in diabetes can this happen. Only in our wacky world do companies feel good about buying an asset for a billion bucks when they could have bought that same asset for a few hundred million.
Oh well as they say in France C’est la vie.
So good luck to Le Bleu this Sunday who will play the winner of today’s England Croatia match. The Three Lions, that’s the name for the English team and seriously you gotta love the nicknames of these teams, have never advanced to the finals. The Fiery Ones, the name for the Croatian team, like the Three Lions have never reached the finals.
Nothing against the Fiery Ones but our heart is with the Three Lions today for as Winston Churchill once said America and England are two nations divided by a common language.