Sanofi's Genzyme says making progress with MS drugs

By Elena Berton

LYON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Sanofi's Genzyme unit hasreceived positive feedback from U.S. doctors after the recentlaunch of multiple sclerosis pill Aubagio and moving towardrefiling its FDA application for MS drug Lemtrada, seniorexecutives said on Friday.

The two drugs are the pillars of Sanofi's entry into themultiple sclerosis market as the French drugmaker seeks newgrowth areas to offset the loss of patents protecting its formerblockbuster drugs.

Genzyme, which launched Aubagio in the U.S. on Oct. 1, ispresenting detailed data from a previously published study ofthe drug at a medical congress in Lyon, France.

"We are 11 days in, so it's pretty early, but reports [fromdoctors] are extremely positive," Genzyme's head of MS BillSibold told Reuters.

Aubagio is less effective than rival pills but has milderside effects and analysts say it could be popular among newlydiagnosed patients or those who want to switch from interferons,injectable drugs that are commonly used to treat the chronicdisease.

Genzyme also said it is making progress toward refilingLemtrada in the United States, after the Food and DrugAdministration asked the company to change the presentation ofits application to clarify the data.

"We are on track to satisfy the questions of navigabilityfrom the FDA," said Michael Panzara, therapeutic area head formultiple sclerosis and immune diseases at Genzyme. "We are alsohaving interactions with regulators around the world which arevery favourable."

(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Christian Plumb)


Messaging: elena.berton.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SANOFI MS/