Sanofi's Genzyme says making progress with MS drugs

By Elena Berton

LYON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Sanofi's Genzyme unit has received positive feedback from U.S. doctors after the recent launch of multiple sclerosis pill Aubagio and moving toward refiling its FDA application for MS drug Lemtrada, senior executives said on Friday.

The two drugs are the pillars of Sanofi's entry into the multiple sclerosis market as the French drugmaker seeks new growth areas to offset the loss of patents protecting its former blockbuster drugs.

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

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

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

Genzyme also said it is making progress toward refiling Lemtrada in the United States, after the Food and Drug Administration asked the company to change the presentation of its application to clarify the data.

"We are on track to satisfy the questions of navigability from the FDA," said Michael Panzara, therapeutic area head for multiple sclerosis and immune diseases at Genzyme. "We are also having interactions with regulators around the world which are very favourable."

(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Christian Plumb)



Keywords: SANOFI MS/