- Sanofi announced during an internal meeting on Friday morning that it is "realigning" its U.S. diabetes and cardiovascular business.
- "As a result of the new model, we did announce an approximate 20% staff reductions, including our sales force and some business support functions for this business unit," said a Sanofi spokesperson in an email.
- The realignment of its U.S. diabetes business comes as its blockbuster insulin Lantus (insulin glargine), once the company's bestselling drug, faces a new competitive threat from Eli Lilly's copycat biologic.
Sanofi said it will provide all employees who face loss of employment with "separation packages, which include severance pay, health benefits and outplacement services" and that employees have the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the company.
Sanofi once reigned as the king of the diabetes space, but increased competition and loss of exclusivity for Lantus, as well as pipeline disappointments have jeopardized the franchise.
Sales from its Diabetes and Cardiovascular unit were down 2.5% globally during the third quarter, while the diabetes franchise specifically slipped by 1.5%.
The drugmaker lost patent exclusivity for Lantus in the U.S. in late 2015 but was able to stave up competition until now. Per a settlement deal, Eli Lilly and Co. plans to launch its insulin glargine biosimilar Basaglar in the U.S. next week.
Sanofi debuted its own follow-on insulin glargine, Toujeo, as a successor to Lantus, but the drug has struggled to gain footing.
Meanwhile, payers have put significant pricing pressures on diabetes drugmakers and have pushed other insulin makers to cut costs. Novo Nordisk, which has taken the diabetes crown from Sanofi, recently announced its own cuts and restructuring.
There has been speculation that Sanofi will eventually pull out of the diabetes space altogether, but the company said it remains committed to providing access to its medicines for diabetes patients.