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Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO) Lures Sanofi (France) (SAN.PA) Pitchman as Diabetes Battle Heats Up


3/28/2013 7:58:27 AM

As a former professional cyclist, Phil Southerland knows about competition. So when Southerland, a diabetic whose team was funded by drugmaker Sanofi (SAN) for six years, wanted a better sponsorship deal, he knew who to contact: archrival Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOB). Novo was quick to snap him up, offering a contract worth several million dollars, according to people familiar with the negotiations. The Danish company put Southerland, a man known for his ties to Sanofi, on the cover of its annual report last month along with his crew, now called Team Novo Nordisk. The Southerland move is one of the latest examples of the acrimonious battle between the world’s two biggest providers of insulin, the hormone diabetics need to prevent sugar from pooling in their blood. Sanofi (SAN) has sued Novo in Germany over an ad that suggests its best-seller Lantus can cause more weight gain and the two CEOs trade barbs on conference calls. At stake: a bigger slice of the $35 billion market for diabetes drugs.

Read at Bloomberg

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