FRANCE — Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has transferred 11 brands from its central nervous system (CNS) portfolio to the UK-based company Pharmanovia in a strategic move to refocus its portfolio.

This landmark agreement encompasses a range of drugs addressing four therapeutic areas—psycholeptics, anxiolytics, anti-epileptics, and anti-psychotics, all of which continue to grapple with unmet needs in various markets.

While specific financial details remain undisclosed, this partnership offers Pharmanovia an invaluable opportunity to expand its reach and strengthen its presence in the mental health and epilepsy sub-therapy markets.

Sanofi’s divestment includes several benzodiazepine brands, such as Sentil, Urbanol, Noiafren, Castilium, and Frisium, primarily used to treat anxiety in specific patient groups.

Notably, Frisium also serves as an adjunctive treatment for epilepsy. Additionally, Sanofi is offloading the epilepsy drug Gardenal, vertigo and nausea medication Stemetil, and Tercian, used to address psychotic conditions and anxiety in patients who have exhausted other therapeutic options.

Pharmanovia, a global lifecycle management healthcare company, specializes in revitalizing, extending, and expanding the lifecycle of established medicines.

Their approach involves rediscovering, repurposing, or re-engineering existing medicines, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes and medical experiences.

This divestment marks a significant shift for Sanofi, signaling its intent to move away from its CNS business.

A similar trend was observed in July 2022 when Sanofi sold two portfolios, consisting of 15 CNS medicines and two assets targeting pain and vascular diseases, to Neuraxpharm. The specifics of this agreement, like the recent one with Pharmanovia, were not disclosed.

In June 2021, Sanofi also divested 16 consumer healthcare products to Stada, citing a need to streamline its consumer healthcare portfolio and accelerate growth.

While Sanofi has strategically trimmed its CNS and consumer health businesses, it has concurrently strengthened its rare disease and diabetes pipelines.

Notably, in May 2023, Sanofi entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Maze Therapeutics, investing US$150 million upfront for Maze’s glycogen synthase 1 program and lead candidate, both of which are under evaluation for Pompe disease.

Furthermore, in March 2023, Sanofi acquired Provention Bio for US$2.9 billion, gaining rights to the diabetes delay drug Tzield.

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