Sanofi takes $285M charge after racking up back-to-back PhIII trial failures

Sanofi's ($SNY) iniparib failed a Phase III study for squamous non-small cell lung cancer, the final strike against a once-promising drug that has proved a bitter disappointment for the pharma giant.

Investigators say a combination of the drug with chemo failed to produce an overall survival benefit when compared with a control arm which received only chemo. And it failed a midstage study for ovarian cancer as well, prompting Sanofi to slam the brakes on the internal development program. The pharma giant is taking a $285 million charge to account for the failure.

The anticoagulant otamixaban--an injectable factor Xa inhibitor--also didn't do any better in Phase III. The top-line data failed to demonstrate any superiority over the current standard, leaving Sanofi with nowhere to turn.

Sanofi has scored a couple of advances in multiple sclerosis recently, but it's been having a tough time getting major new treatments through the clinic, despite a reorganization that's now several years old. Sanofi's CEO Chris Viehbacher decided to acquire iniparib in a $500 million deal to buy BiPar in 2009. The buyout was designed to help get the oncology unit on track, but it failed a breast cancer study in 2011.

"Originally the acquisition of BiPar was to also really to show we were still committed to oncology," Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher told Bloomberg. "This one didn't work out, but it led to us to being able to recruit lots of other people and motivate our teams to say yes, we are still interested."

- here's the press release
- here's the story from Bloomberg

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