Sanofi's CEO To Present At JPMorgan Global Healthcare Conference (Transcript)

Sanofi ( SNY)

JPMorgan Global Healthcare Conference Call

January 10, 2012 00:30 pm ET


Chris Viehbacher - CEO


Alexandra Hauber - JPMorgan


Alexandra Hauber - JPMorgan

Ladies and gentlemen, we continue on our large cap pharma track this morning in this room. I'm Alexandra Hauber, European pharma analyst at JPMorgan and I'm very pleased now to introduce Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi.

Chris will give a 25 minute presentation in this room and then he will be available for your questions at the breakout session in the [Borja] room across the hall. Chris, the floor is yours.

Chris Viehbacher

Thank you, Alexandra. Good morning, everybody and I think we can still wish everybody a Happy New Year; on into the second week of the year. Just if I could, 2012 has been one of those years that’s been circled in red in Sanofi calendars now for at least five years. It’s of course, the year of the infamous patent cliff and one that obviously a number of companies in our industry are facing. Pretty much three years ago when I joined the company, my focus was all around 2012. And it wasn't really so much how were we going to compensate for the loss of sales, but really how were we going to transform the company so that we didn't go through this again.

I always am fond of saying that this is my fourth patent cliff in my career and my principle objective was to avoid a fifth. So how do you avoid the fifth patent cliff? Well, the first thing you've got to avoid are patents on small molecule assets. So what we decided to do was really invest in growth platforms that where we saw that there was competitive advantage or other barriers of entry that didn't protect, that protected the business beyond the patent.

So it doesn't mean that innovation is not a part of this. It doesn't mean that we won't have some small molecules in the business, but when too much of the business is on those patented small molecules, it creates a volatility and if you want to get a share price that has the same value as Coca-Cola, you have to have some degree of predictability and sustainability of sales and earnings. And it’s very hard to do that on a small molecule patented business alone. So we’ve identified businesses like vaccines where you’ve got clear barriers to entry in terms of capital expenditure and knowhow.

Consumer businesses, low government reimbursement clearly but also extremely long brand loyalty, we acquired a company in the US called Chattem. It had grown for over 140 years before we acquired it and it’s continued to grow obviously through the successful launch of Allegra in the OTC market. But that’s a type of a thing that we were trying to do.

So it wasn’t just a question of dealing with the patent cliff, but it was fundamentally changing the structure and the shape of the company and so that’s path that we have been on and 2012 really is that year when obviously PLAVIX goes in May of this year and AVAPRO goes in March of this year and we will lose a ELOXATIN somewhere in August.

But those are things that have been predicted for some time and it will certainly hurt to lose that cash flow, but I think 2012 was also that period of time where we start to look forward to a growth period that goes out to 2015 and beyond. So we first decided to this, not a lot of people believed it. I said, my god you have got one of the deepest and most concentrated patent cliffs in the industry, you can’t possibly compensate for that.

It was absolutely in the minds of everybody that we were going to have to do some big pharma merger to compensate for that. Well in fact these growth platforms have done the job. We had €7.6 billion in 2008. Sales for those products that were going to face patent expiry, so those are the Plavixs and the Taxoteres in US, Europe and Japan. They represented in 2008, 27% of the business.

Well we fast forward to 2011 and we see that that business has shrunk from €7.6 billion to about €3 billion. So we have lost €4.6 billion of sales in that interval, which is pretty significant and the good news though is that those businesses, although it’s still €3 billion only represent about 9% of sales.

They, of course, will never go completely to zero and it still means that €3 billion has to come out, but you know, we’ve got a big chunk of the patent cliff certainly as in terms of what's consolidated in our sales behind us. So what's happened on the growth platforms? Well in the same timeframe when we identified these platforms, they were about 43% of our business or roughly €11.8 billion

Now we fast forward again to 2011 and you see that those businesses have largely doubled to €22 billion and they now represent 66% of our business. So on the left we lost €4.6 and we gained 10.

Now, I am not going to tell you that the 10 was all organic. But 4 was acquired and 6 was organic. So, even just the organic piece of €6 billion still outpaced the losses of the €4.6 billion. So, we’ve compensated, but we’ve also changed the shape of the business. So all of that gives us an awful lot of confidence for the rest of the year and I am not going to go, obviously we’re going to give fourth quarter earnings results in early February.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on