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Sanofi exits key research areas; House passes Pelosi's drug pricing bill

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Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said on a Dec. 9 call with reporters that the Paris-based company will be exiting diabetes and cardiovascular research.
Source: Sanofi

Sanofi's CEO Paul Hudson, at the helm barely 100 days, announced plans to exit diabetes and cardiovascular research and save €2 billion by reallocating resources in the next two years.

In his first strategy update since joining Paris-based Sanofi from Swiss pharma group Novartis AG in September, Hudson said the focus will turn to hematology, rare disease, neurology and cancer. Diabetes and cardiovascular research have historically been two of the French pharma group's most important therapeutic areas. Hudson intends to prioritize multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, a respiratory vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, six potentially transformative late-stage experimental therapies for hemophilia and the oral medicine Venglustat for rare diseases including Gaucher and Fabry.

Hudson also announced a simplified corporate structure, with the company split into three business units: a stand-alone consumer business, "supported by us, cheerleaded by us"; a specialty care unit; and a general medicines unit, comprising established medicines and diabetes and cardiovascular products.

"We'll be out of diabetes and cardiovascular research — not easy for a company like ours with an incredibly proud history," Hudson said on a Dec. 9 conference call with reporters ahead of Sanofi's strategy day. "We recognize it's getting more difficult to get breakthrough innovation. We also recognize that we have to be efficient and move our resources to areas of opportunity — both unmet need and to grow our top line."

"So, as tough a choice as that is, we're making that choice," Hudson continued.

Sanofi exits diabetes, cardiovascular research as new CEO sets out his stall

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The U.S. House of Representatives adopted Speaker Nancy Pelosi's legislation to lower drug prices on Dec. 12.
Source: Sanofi

US House adopts Pelosi drug pricing bill, rejects Republican substitute

The U.S. House adopted Speaker Nancy Pelosi's legislation to lower drug prices, voting 230 to 192. Lawmakers also defeated a Republican amendment aimed at replacing the Democrats' bill.

World's best-selling medicine sees Q3 revenue dip as cancer drug sales surge

Third-quarter sales of AbbVie Inc.'s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis medicine Humira fell 3.7% year over year as biosimilar competition increased. Revenues of cancer therapies rose 18.0% over that same period in an analysis of select companies' sales.

US FDA's reliance on drugmakers to translate in foreign inspections probed

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration frequently relies on translators provided by drug companies during foreign inspections, raising questions about impartiality and accuracy of information, a government investigator told lawmakers.

South Carolina approved to enforce Medicaid work requirements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved South Carolina's Medicaid work requirements waiver Dec. 12, making South Carolina the first non-Medicaid expansion state to receive approval to implement the policy.

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Novartis agreed to $9.7B The Medicines Co. deal yet failed to justify price

According to a regulatory filing from The Medicines Co., Novartis' models could not justify the price offered, but the deal went forward anyway.

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Healthcare sector adds 45,200 jobs in November, bouncing back from 2019 low

The healthcare industry added 45,200 jobs in November, once again fueled by a strong month for ambulatory healthcare services. The November jobs report showed a recovery from the industry's 2019 low in October.

Of Mice Not Men: Improving some Down syndrome symptoms; new hope for spinal cord injury

Scientists discover a cell signaling pathway affects protein production and causes memory problems in people with Down syndrome; a pain medicine helps restore limb function after spinal cord injury; and a potential risk of cancer from radiation.

US Senate confirms cancer doctor Stephen Hahn as US FDA commissioner

The U.S. Senate has confirmed cancer doctor Stephen Hahn to be the 24th commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an agency that oversees products that account for about one-fifth of the nation's economy.

Fitch, Moody's upgrade 2020 outlook for not-for-profit hospitals to stable

Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service raised their 2020 outlooks for not-for-profit hospitals to stable from negative. Both rating agencies highlighted M&A activity as a trend to watch in the space in 2020.

Editor's Note: S&P Global Market Intelligence will not be publishing Essential Healthcare on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. The newsletter will resume Jan. 8.

Essential Healthcare is a weekly collection of critical developments across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare provider, healthcare technology and medical equipment industries that draws on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Healthcare News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Subscribe now to get Essential Healthcare delivered to your inbox every week.