DAVOS-Sanofi CEO says braced for generic Lovenox

* Lovenox not part of the future at French drugmaker

* Sanofi will be “extremely vigilant” on generic safety

* CEO says not interested in Germany’s Ratiopharm

By Ben Hirschler

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Sanofi-Aventis
(SASY.PA: ) is already anticipating the arrival of generic forms
of its blockbuster anticoagulant Lovenox and doesn’t view the
drug as part of the company’s future, its CEO said on Wednesday.

The French group’s rival Novartis (NOVN.VX: ) hopes to win
U.S. approval soon for its copy of Lovenox and worries about an
imminent launch have knocked Sanofi shares in recent days.

“It will have a hit on sales but for us it (Lovenox) is not
a growth platform for the future,” Chris Viehbacher told Reuters
on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

“Lovenox isn’t part of the future of the company … and we
essentially built into our 2013 guidance the appearance of a
non-substitutable generic. If there weren’t a generic for
Lovenox it would be an upside for the business.”

There has been mounting speculation in the past week that
Novartis’s generics unit Sandoz and its partner Momenta
Pharmaceuticals (MNTA.O: ) are gearing up to launch a generic form
of the drug, which sells some $4 billion a year worldwide.

Along with Novartis/Momenta, others seeking approval for a
generic Lovenox include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA: )
and a partnership of Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI.N: ) and
privately held Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.

Lovenox is a complex biological drug and Viehbacher said
authorities would have to look long and hard to ensure any copy
delivered the same safety and efficacy as the original.

“We are certainly going to be extremely vigilant on all the
safety issues,” he said.

Like other big drugmakers, Sanofi is currently on a drive to
diversify its business — but Viehbacher said he was not
interested in acquiring a commodity Western-market generic drug
business such as Germany’s Ratiopharm, which is currently up for
sale.

“A business like Ratiopharm wouldn’t really fit with the
strategy,” he said.

Sanofi’s name was initially linked to the Ratiopharm
auction, although more recently people familiar with the
procedure told Reuters there appeared to be a three-way tussle
between Teva, Pfizer (PFE.N: ), and Iceland’s Actavis, backed by
Swedish buyout-firm EQT. [ID:nLDE60I0G6]

Stock Today

(Editing by Lin Noueihed)

DAVOS-Sanofi CEO says braced for generic Lovenox