Sanofi’s new atopic dermatitis launch Dupixent has hit a roadblock with the influential cost-effectiveness gatekeepers in England. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence rejected the blockbuster hopeful, despite finding that it’s an innovative drug for patients who have a strong need for new treatments.
The obstacle? It’s likely price, if NICE history holds. The agency found that Dupixent is a “step change” in managing the disease, Sanofi said Tuesday, but couldn’t sign off on its use because of cost-effectiveness concerns. The guidance isn’t final, and the process now goes to a consultation period until April 24.
The French pharma giant Sanofi announced this morning that it will buy the Belgium-based antibody drug developer Ablynx for $4.8 billion in cash. The deal will further bolster Sanofi’s rare blood disease portfolio and pipeline and gives it access to Ablynx’s small-sized antibodies, called nanobodies.
Sanofi emphasized that the long-term value lies in Ablynx’s nanobody technology. Normal antibodies are composed of two main segments, a heavy chain and light chain. Nanobodies are heavy-chain-only antibodies that are derived from camels and llamas. The end result is a smaller-than-normal antibody drug that can be delivered more easily.
Launching what is expected to be a busy year for drug industry acquisitions, Celgene says it will acquire the CAR T-cell cancer immunotherapy company Juno Therapeutics for about $9 billion, and Sanofi has signed a deal to buy the rare blood disease company Bioverativ for nearly $11.6 billion.
Last year was a slow one for drug industry mergers and acquisitions, with only a handful of deals surpassing $1 billion. Analysts are forecasting a heavier M&A season for 2018, and that prediction looks on track so far.
Juno’s pipeline is entirely based on CAR T-cell immunotherapy, a gene therapy in which a cancer patient’s immune cells are removed from their body, turbocharged via genetic engineering, and reinjected to target cancer. Bioverativ’s biggest selling points are its marketed blood clotting factor replacement therapies for hemophilia, although it’s also working on gene therapies for the disease.
Sanofi has bought itself rights to Principia BioPharma’s experimental tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor PRN2246, in a deal potentially worth more than $800 million to the latter firm.
The experimental oral therapy, which is designed to access the brain and spinal cord by crossing the blood-brain barrier to impact immune cell and brain cell signaling, has shown promise in multiple sclerosis (MS) and also has potential in other central nervous system (CNS) diseases.
(original source: http://www.pharmatimes.com/news/sanofi_buys_rights_to_principias_btk_inhibitor_1210958)