New generics company emerges from unlikely source
There will soon be a new generics manufacturer to contend with — one that comes with a built-in base of 450 hospitals. Four major health systems — Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, alongside Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health — are coming together to create a nonprofit generic drug company in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The health systems expect the effort to be an FDA-approved manufacturer that will either directly manufacture or sub-contract the manufacture of generics in an effort to create affordable medications. Intermountain Healthcare president and CEO Marc Harrison said that the effort would bring necessary competition to the generics market.
The as-yet-unnamed company’s formation will be guided by an advisory committee composed of pharmaceutical industry and regulatory veterans, including former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Don Berwick and Madhu Balachandran, formerly Amgen’s executive vice president of global operations, among others.
“This initiative has the potential to greatly expand the availability and affordability of critically needed medications for millions of Americans, especially for people living in poverty and those most vulnerable,” said Anthony Tersigni, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Ascension.
“Rather than waiting and hoping for generic drug companies to address this need, we are taking this bold step on behalf of those we are privileged to serve. I’m pleased to see our respective systems come together, along with the VA, to ensure affordability and access to these essential medications.”
The Veterans Health Administration’s executive in charge, Caroline Clancy, praised the effort, noting, “Increasing generic drug manufacturing capacity will generate a more stable generic drug supply and will reduce the negative clinical impact of chronic drug shortages, including the impact on our nation’s veterans.”
Publix starts low-priced prescription service
Publix Pharmacy has announced the launch of a new low-priced program aimed towards providing up to a 90-day supply of commonly prescribed generic medications to customers. Medications used to treat a variety of health issues are to be included in the deal with each costing no more than $7.50.
“Our founder, George Jenkins, taught us to take care of people and our communities, and making needed medications more affordable provides us this opportunity,” Maria Brous, Publix’s director of media and community relations, said. “Healthcare costs continue to rise, so sometimes people have a hard time filling their prescriptions as regularly as they should. We believe this low price will help encourage customers to follow their doctor’s orders, so they can experience better health outcomes.”
Regardless of patient insurance coverage, the price is set to remain the same, the Lakeland, Fla.-based company said. The program is set to include 29 generic medications with 85 dosage options for treatments of:
- heart health/cardiovascular;
- mental health;
- seizure disorders;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Alzheimer’s disease;
- gastrointestinal issues;
- asthma and allergies;
- men’s health; and
- women’s health.
A full list of medication brands can be found on Publix’s pharmacy website.
Sanofi to acquire Bioverativ for $11.6B
In a move aimed at growing its positioning in the rare disease space, Sanofi will be acquiring biopharmaceutical company Bioverativ. The French drugmaker will pay $105 per share — roughly $11.6 billion — in cash for the Waltham, Mass.-based maker of treatments for hemophilia and other rare blood disorders.
“With Bioverativ, a leader in the growing hemophilia market, Sanofi enhances its presence in specialty care and leadership in rare diseases, in line with its 2020 Roadmap, and creates a platform for growth in other rare blood disorders. Together, we have a great opportunity to bring innovative medicines to patients worldwide, building on Bioverativ’s success in driving new standards of care with its extended half-life factor replacement therapies,” Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt said. “Combined, we will continue to leverage our scientific know-how, disciplined focus and development expertise that best position us to drive value for our shareholders and create breakthrough treatments for patients.”
The hemophilia market is comprised of roughly $10 billion in annual sales with a patient population near 181,000, according to Evaluate Pharma. Bioverativ’s products Eloctate and Alprolix treat hemophilia A and B, respectively, generating $847 million in sales and $41 million in sales in 2016. Sanofi said that the method of treatment that Bioverativ’s products use, replacement therapy, will continue to be the standard in hemophilia care, and Bioverativ currently has a Phase 3 program testing a treatment for cold agglutinin disease, as well as other hemophilia research programs.
“We have expanded upon the success of Eloctate and Alprolix, which are making a difference in the lives of people with hemophilia every day, and built a pipeline of novel programs for people with rare blood disorders,” Bioverativ CEO John Cox said. “Sanofi brings proven capabilities and a global infrastructure, which we believe will help to more rapidly expand access to our medicines globally and further our mission of transforming the lives of people with rare blood disorders.”
The move also is part of Sanofi’s 2020 roadmap, which the company said includes a reshaping of its portfolio to find treatment areas where it can establish itself as a leader. Sanofi said it expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to its earnings per share in the 2018 fiscal year, as up to 5% accretive in FY2019.