Sanofi-Aventis wins big with Multaq approval

After a long, dry spell, Sanofi-Aventis' pipeline has finally produced a winner. The FDA has approved its blockbuster heart therapy Multaq.

While expected, the news Thursday morning raised a swift cheer from the ranks of stock analysts. Sanofi has estimated Multaq's earnings potential at more than €1 billion a year. And some of the analysts' estimates go higher than that.

"The drug is now approved, ending Sanofi's streak of pipeline futility," Gbola Amusa, an analyst with UBS, tells Dow Jones. Amusa believes that Multaq can earn €1.4 billion annually.

While the road to an approval has been a long one, the news also bolsters Chris Viehbacher, who was recently brought in to help shake up the pharma giant and make it more productive. And he's already announced a major reorganization in its R&D arm. "The FDA approval of Multaq is an important milestone in the management of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter that demonstrates the commitment of Sanofi-Aventis to provide patients and physicians with important new medicines," said Viehbacher.

- check out the report from Dow Jones

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