Sanofi CEO does not rule out future Pompe-focused BD despite aggressive FTC

Sanofi CEO does not rule out future Pompe-focused BD despite aggressive FTC

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson did not explicitly rule out pursuing future business development centered on Pompe disease, despite the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recent challenge of the pharma company’s deal with Maze Therapeutics.

The north star for Sanofi remains exciting science, Hudson said at a Wednesday briefing at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

“We will do what we always do, which is every time we see something that we think is good science, that will benefit patients, that we can do better than other people, we will try,” he said.

His comments come a month after the FTC challenged the agreement between Sanofi and Maze for MZE001, a clinical-stage treatment for Pompe disease that could’ve bolstered Sanofi’s existing portfolio for the disease. Sanofi elected to back out of the agreement altogether rather than fight, citing the potential for “long litigation.” The FTC’s decision rocked industry leaders given it was a licensing deal rather than a full acquisition.

Still, the FTC has showed its teeth under chairperson Lina Kahn, challenging Amgen’s deal with Horizon before ultimately settling. Another large deal, Pfizer’s acquisition of Seagen, was completed without issue.

Pharmaceutical leaders have also been concerned about the impact of price negotiation legislation stemming from the Inflation Reduction Act and the threat of march-in rights from the Biden Administration.

Hudson concurred with FTC’s larger goal to maximize competition, but he is concerned that the Maze decision puts the drug’s future at risk. Oftentimes, biotechs out-license assets when they cannot afford to take products all the way to the market.

“Our first instincts on Pompe were, we’re just disappointed, that there’s a risk the program doesn’t continue,” Hudson said. “I just think sometimes capital is hard to come by, I think sometimes expertise isn’t there, and I think sometimes in these smaller companies their desire was to get it to this point.”

The deal with Maze was first announced May, with Sanofi agreeing to pay $130 million upfront with $605 million in milestone payments. The FTC’s acting director at the bureau of competition, Nate Soderstrom, said in a statement following Sanofi’s termination that the move was “a big win for patients and an important victory for the FTC.”

error: Content is protected !!