Sanofi’s experimental skin medicine produced better results after a longer treatment, underscoring its potential to further the French drugmaker’s growth and compete with a similar therapy from Amgen Inc.
(Bloomberg) — Sanofi’s experimental skin medicine produced better results after a longer treatment, underscoring its potential to further the French drugmaker’s growth and compete with a similar therapy from Amgen Inc.
About 46% of adults suffering from atopic dermatitis who took the highest dose of amlitelimab in a trial had clear or almost clear skin after 24 weeks, the company said in a statement Friday. That’s better than the 22% of patients who met that classification after just 16 weeks.
Investors are looking for signs that the medicine’s efficacy deepens over time as they consider the market for emerging treatments. Sanofi’s results suggest the drug may be working to restore a balance in people’s immune system for a longer-lasting effect.
“It’s not only the short-term efficacy and safety, but this potential to really have durable disease control and disease modification that we’re really excited about,” Naimish Patel, Sanofi’s head of global development for immunology and inflammation, said in an interview.
Amlitelimab is one of a handful of promising medicines in Sanofi’s pipeline that could reinforce the explosive growth at the company from blockbuster skin and asthma drug Dupixent. Sanofi reported €4.9 billion ($5.2 billion) in Dupixent sales in the first half of this year, a 37% increase from the same period a year ago.
New Revenue Streams
Both amlitelimab and Amgen’s drug, rocatinlimab, which is already in a late-stage trial, come from a new class of drugs targeting a piece of some immune cells called OX40 that plays a role in triggering inflammation.
Since amlitelimab works differently on the body than Dupixent, it could enable Sanofi to treat more patients down the line. It could also soften the blow for the company when Dupixent starts losing patent protection in less than a decade, John Murphy of Bloomberg Intelligence said in a recent note.
Sanofi is sometimes criticized for becoming too dependent on Dupixent for growth. It’s added other experimental medicines to its pipeline with a string of small and mid-sized acquisitions and partnerships, including two deals earlier this month for treatments for bowel disease and an invasive form of a digestive pathogen.
Amgen’s rocatinlimab currently has first-mover advantage over amlitelimab, since late-stage trial data is expected for it later next year or in early 2025, Citi analyst Peter Verdult said in a note last month. Even so, amlitelimab probably has peak sales potential of around €1.6 billion, Verdult said.
Sanofi plans to start a phase 3 trial of amlitelimab in atopic dermatitis in the first half of 2024. The company is also studying the drug in a mid-stage trial for asthma.
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