WSJ: Viehbacher sharpens axe for Sanofi R&D ops

It turns out that Sanofi-Aventis' plans to restructure its R&D operations may have as much to do with cutting costs as it does with boosting outside development alliances.

Quoting sources, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sanofi plans to scale back spending in key development areas where the pharma giant has been unsuccessful. And with a patent loss on Plavix looming, which will cost Sanofi an $8.6 billion annual franchise, the company will reorganize and expand its generic drug operations by targeting emerging markets.

"We have 24 months' time to make the company ready" for the loss of Plavix, said Sanofi's source, who was described as someone familiar with the restructuring plan. "Lower costs and stronger emphasis on generics" are key to Sanofi's plans.

Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher told Reuters yesterday that he's just weeks away from unveiling a reorganization. The CEO has been highlighting the company's plans to do more work with outside companies. Now the attention will turn to the details of Viehbacher's plans to trim expenses in an R&D arm that has been high in cost and low in productivity.

- read the report from the Wall Street Journal

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