Viehbacher Sees Sanofi (France) Growth in Diagnostics and Nutrition

Published: Feb 08, 2013

Sanofi’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher, who’s completed 32 acquisitions and 91 licensing deals in four years, says more collaborations may be a way to grow in diagnostics and nutrition. “I believe in this health-care approach,” which means Sanofi is becoming a company focused on health, not just drugs, Viehbacher said in an interview at Sanofi’s Paris headquarters. France’s largest drugmaker spent about 24 billion euros ($33 billion) on acquisitions and partnerships since Viehbacher took over at the end of 2008, including the $20.1 billion purchase of Genzyme Corp. The 52-year-old executive has sought to replenish Sanofi’s product pipeline and reduce its reliance on a handful of blockbusters susceptible to generic competition. Viehbacher, who keeps a collection of antique pharmacy jars behind his desk, is also widening the company’s approach to patient needs, for example by investing in some medical devices. Sanofi introduced a product known as Auvi-Q last month in the U.S., a talking device shaped like a mobile phone and designed to guide users through an emergency allergy injection. In diabetes, where sales are driven by the Lantus insulin, the company introduced blood-metering devices in 2011, including one that connects to Apple Inc.’s iPhone. “The marriage of digital technologies with therapeutics is a phenomenon that is only going to grow,” Viehbacher said, and Sanofi could do with “partnerships to help us understand the digital side of the business.” No Lucozade: Nutrition is another area that could be of interest as it hasn’t “really developed in the true sense,” Viehbacher said. “You have products that claim to be nutritious but aren’t necessarily, you have products that are very medical but aren’t really for every-day use. There’s potential.”

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