Welcome to the drama

Welcome to the drama

The ink isn’t even dry yet on the news that Oliver Brandicourt is the new CEO at the soap opera at that the soap opera known as Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) yet already he’s got a major problem brewing. Perhaps as parting gift from our good friend and soon to be Wacky Award winner Serge Weinberg, the Afrezza sale team was ripped a new one. Yes it seems management is unhappy with how the launch is going so naturally it must be the sales team who’s at fault.

There has been a great deal of speculation as how the launch is going, how many scripts are being written each week, etc. The fact is whatever the numbers are they are meaningless. Forgotten in all this speculation is Sanofi is giving away Afrezza for FREE, yep that’s right free. As we noted long ago to help overcome Afrezza poor formulary placement the company is giving away Afrezza for FREE and then limiting the out of pocket costs to $30 for each refill. Basically the company is subsidizing the cost of Afrezza which of course eats into margins.

Frankly we could care less how many scripts are being written, this theory that patients will stay on Afrezza after the FREE trial is over is just that a theory. Yet even if they did with Sanofi subsidizing future sales there is little chance that the company will make any money. We hate to break the news to the many zealots who believe Afrezza is the next diabetes blockbuster but not even Sanofi will continue selling a drug they are losing money on.

Honestly it’s time that everyone stop speculating, no matter how much fun it may be, and wait for the results to come in.

As we noted just yesterday with Oliver in charge and given his experience with Exubera he could well decide to terminate the MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) partnership and refocus the diabetes franchise on the upcoming Toujeo launch. The fact is no one knows what Oliver will do with the diabetes franchise nor does anyone know what the board will allow him to do. As we stated consistently the franchise has more issues than Hollywood has red carpet.

Based on comments made by our favorite quote machine Serge we’d say that Oliver won’t be given much latitude to be his own man. Speaking as to why the board canned Viehbacher, Serge stated: There never was a debate over strategy with Mr. Viehbacher. In fact we never had the opportunity to discuss the issues over which we disagreed, since they were never presented to the board.”  Now if that doesn’t send a message to Oliver as to who’s running the show here we’re not sure what does.

We can only imagine Oliver going to the board and saying; “Guys if you could put down your wine for a moment I have some idea’s I’d like to run by you. I’ve been thinking since we don’t have a prayer of making any money selling Afrezza lets terminate the partnership with MannKind now before it becomes a disaster like Exubera did for Pfizer. Even better if you’re looking for a scapegoat as to why we’re walking away so soon you can easily blame this on Viehbacher as it was his idea to do the deal and we all know that no one else at the company wanted to do it. Thanks and could you please pass the chardonnay.”