This morning Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) reported third quarter results and the verdict on their diabetes franchise was mixed. Lantus® the world’s number one selling insulin continues to do very well, whereas concerns remain over reimbursement for Acomplia®. Although not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug has been approved in Britain and Germany.
The company plans on releasing results from their Serenade study at the International Diabetes Foundation/ World Diabetes Foundation conference in December. This study was designed to asses Acomplia as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Like everyone else Sanofi is hoping to get a slice of the growing market for type 2 medications. Based on what is known about Acomplia already it would appear the company will try and position the drug as an alternative to Byetta from Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) and Januvia™ the recently approved DPP4 from Merck (NYSE:MRK).
The company also announced plans to introduce a disposable insulin pen, the SoloStar®, late in the fourth quarter or early next year. Although it was difficult to tell from the picture used in today’s presentation the SoloStar looks similar to Lilly’s (NYSE:LLY) disposable insulin pen. While the SoloStar appears to be an improvement over the OptiClick pen, which has failed due to it’s poor design, it does not appear to match the disposable pens from Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO). With the popularity of Lantus and its continued impressive sales results the lack of well designed pen is not a major concern for the moment.
The real question for Sanofi is the fate of Acomplia in the US. The type 2 market is becoming increasingly crowded and with the introduction of DPP4’s into the market physicians have a wide range of options when treating a patient. As Diabetic Investor pointed out in our October issue which was released yesterday, the type 2 market is becoming a battle between heavyweights. With billions at stake look for some heavy punching, low blows and the need for a good cut man.