Sanofi halts work on 3 late-stage trial drugs
Date: 7 May 2009
Sanofi-Aventis has halted work on three experimental drugs including a once-promising depression treatment in order to focus its research and development efforts elsewhere, the European pharmaceutical giant said Wednesday.
Sanofi announced the decision to halt development of the three Phase III drugs followed a "comprehensive and rigorous" review of its R&D pipeline, which will also include axing several Phase II drugs and six projects that were in Phase I, Sanofi-Aventis said in a statement.
The Paris-based company announced the R&D shakeup alongside its first-quarter earnings, which showed net profit rose 19.1 percent in the period to euro1.58 billion ($2.1 billion), up from euro1.3 billion a year earlier.
Sanofi-Aventis said the three late-stage trial drugs it was halting work on were Saredutant, AVE5530, and TroVax, the rights to which it will give back to Oxford BioMedica.
Saredutant was being tested as a possible antidepressant, while AVE5530 was an experimental treatment for high cholesterol.
TroVax is an experimental cancer vaccine.
Another vaccine that had been in Phase III trials, called Unifive, has also been discontinued so that the company could focus resources on its Hexaxim vaccine.
Decisions on whether to axe an additional four experimental drugs, including a vaccine for West Nile virus, will be made "in the next few months" on the basis of ongoing clinical trials, Sanofi-Aventis said.
During the first quarter Sanofi-Aventis saw sales of its seven so-called "flagship" drugs, including the blockbusters Lovenox, Plavix and Lantus, rise 11.3 percent to euro3.42 billion.
Overall sales, including vaccines, were up 2.5 percent in the quarter to euro7.1 billion.
Sanofi-Aventis shares fell 6.7 percent during the first quarter.
On Tuesday the stock closed down 0.2 percent at euro41.63. = AP
This article was published in www.thestar.com.my
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