Sanofi Sells 11 CNS Assets to Pharmanovia including Frisium and Gardenal

Sanofi_iStock, Panama7

Pictured: Sanofi's Germany office at night/iStock, Panama7

Sanofi on Monday offloaded 11 brands in its central nervous system portfolio to U.K-based company Pharmanovia, including epilepsy drugs Frisium and Gardenal.

The companies did not disclose specific terms of the agreement, but revealed that the medicines span four therapeutic areas—all with ongoing unmet need: psycholeptics, anxiolytics, anti-epileptics and anti-psychotics.

Though not all these drugs are approved in every market, they still have “clear synergy” with Pharmanovia’s existing portfolio and will fit well with the company’s “core sub-therapy focuses of mental health and epilepsy, where there continues to be significant unmet need,” CEO James Burt said in a statement.

Among the divested drugs are several brands of the benzodiazepine clobazam, including Sentil, Urbanol, Noiafren, Castilium and Frisium. All of these are for the treatment of anxiety in certain patient subgroups; Frisium can also be used as an adjunctive treatment in epilepsy.

Sanofi is also offloading epilepsy drug Gardenal and vertigo and nausea medicine Stemetil, as well as Tercian, which is used for the treatment of psychotic conditions and anxiety in patients who had already failed other therapies.

Pharmanovia is a global lifecycle management healthcare company that “revitalizes, extends and expands the lifecycle of established medicines,” the company said in its press announcement Monday. It achieves this by rediscovering, repurposing or re-engineering established medicines, leading to better patient outcomes and medical experiences, the company contends.

Sanofi’s decision to divest these brands comes as the French pharma group appears to be moving away from its CNS business. In July 2022, it sold two product portfolios to Neuraxpharm. The first portfolio included 15 CNS medicines, while the second consisted of just two assets targeted against pain and vascular diseases.

Overall, the 17 molecules spanned 38 brands. As in the Pharmanovia deal, Sanofi and Neuraxpharm did not reveal specific terms of their agreement.

A year earlier, in June 2021, Sanofi likewise sold 16 consumer healthcare products to Stada. At the time, the company said the decision was to “reduce the complexity” of its consumer healthcare portfolio and “accelerate its growth trajectory.”

While Sanofi has slimmed down its CNS and consumer health businesses, it has also recently beefed up its rare disease and diabetes pipelines. In May 2023, the French drugmaker paid $150 million upfront in an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Maze Therapeutics for the latter’s glycogen synthase 1 program and lead candidate, both being evaluated for Pompe disease.

In March 2023, Sanofi bought Provention Bio for $2.9 billion, giving it rights over the diabetes delay drug Tzield (teplizumab-mzwv).

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at or

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