Sanofi, Inc. (SNY - Free Report) announced that a head-to-head study comparing Toujeo (insulin glargine), a long-acting insulin to Novo Nordisk’s (NVO - Free Report) Tresiba long-acting insulin (insulin degludec) has met the main objective. The study showed that the extent to which Toujeo lowered blood glucose levels in adult patients with diabetes was similar to Tresiba.
Other than assessing the similarity and difference in efficacy, the secondary objective of the BRIGHT study involves the evaluation of an important safety aspect such as the total number of participants with low blood sugar events. Full results from the study are expected to be presented next year.
Sanofi’s shares have risen 9.2% so far this year, comparing unfavorably with a gain of 16.5% recorded by the industry.
Toujeo is already marketed in the United States and EU. The injection recorded sales growth of 45% in the first nine months of 2017 and is a key new product in Sanofi’s portfolio.
Please note that Sanofi’s Diabetes franchise is under significant pressure with key product, Lantus, facing increasing competitive pressure at the payor level and biosimilar competition in several European markets and Japan. Moreover, a biosimilar version of Lantus hit the U.S. markets in December last year.
In 2017 so far, Lantus sales have declined 24.9% in the United States due to lower average net price and due to exclusion from the CVS Health Corporation (CVS - Free Report) and United Health formulary plans. U.S. diabetes sales have declined 20.2% so far in 2017.
In fact, U.S. diabetes franchise sales are expected to decline at an accelerated rate in the fourth quarter due to CVS/United Health formulary exclusion plans, continued lower average pricing and difficult comparisons with the last year.
Sanofi carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
You can seethe complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
A better-ranked large-cap pharma stock is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Shares of J&J have risen 20.7% this year so far while 2018 earnings estimates have gone up 1.3% in the past 60 days.
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