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'We'll play our part in Q4,' Sanofi CEO says on COVID-19 vaccine

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read
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Sanofi (SNY), one of the largest vaccine makers in the world, is increasingly bullish about its cancer portfolio as it focuses on expanding into four key oncology areas.

CEO Paul Hudson told Yahoo Finance Live on Friday that the company is "really turning a corner."

Last year, less than six months after Hudson took the helm, the company announced it was re-entering oncology with its first cancer drug to get approved since 2010.

The company announced early positive results for an oral treatment for certain types of breast cancer that work well in tandem with Pfizer's (PFE) blockbuster drug Ibrance.

"We think it could provide significant relief and opportunity over the long term," Hudson said.

Meanwhile, Sanofi remains focused on its two COVID-19 vaccines, one of which has recently been released from prioritizing the U.S. once it completes clinical trials. That vaccine, in collaboration with GalxoSmithKline (GSK), as well a late-entry mRNA vaccine with TrasnlateBio (TBIO), are the two candidates still in trials.

Since last year, Hudson has maintained that all vaccines in the race were going to be necessary in the global fight against the pandemic, even those that emerge later in the race. To-date, the World Health Organization has authorized a half dozen vaccines, including Pfizer/BioNTech (BNTX), Moderna (MRNA), Oxford-AstraZeneca (AZN), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and two Chinese-made vaccines— from Sinopharm and Sinovac.

"We knew that it would be a changing landscape ... we'll play our part in (the fourth quarter) this year," Hudson said.

An employee works on an influenza vaccines production line at the factory Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceutical company on November 26, 2012 in the northwestern city of Val-de-Reuil, western France. French health care giant Sanofi Pasteur will soon produce a vaccine against dengue fever near Lyon, central-easter France.  Dengue causes a flu-like illness for most victims but one of its strains can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. AFP PHOTO/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU        (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
An employee works on an influenza vaccines production line at the factory Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceutical company on November 26, 2012 in the northwestern city of Val-de-Reuil, western France. French health care giant Sanofi Pasteur will soon produce a vaccine against dengue fever near Lyon, central-easter France. Dengue causes a flu-like illness for most victims but one of its strains can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. AFP PHOTO/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

And the company is, like its competitors in the mRNA space, looking to the future of the new technology for diseases like flu, but also for others.

"We're one of the world's leading, if not the leading, influenza company. There's a high efficacy and safety bar already set with flu, so we're going to play a part either way — if mRNA works, great, if not we're already going to be out there," Hudson said.

But he is waiting until the data comes back in the fall to see what other areas, like rare diseases or areas where vaccines don't exist, hold more potential for mRNA.

Meanwhile, serving the global community and being a part of the global COVID-19 market still holds opportunity for Sanofi. And despite being a late entry in the race, the company doesn't see any value in calls for waiving patents and sharing intellectual property (IP).

"The discussion about IP is not going to accelerate [global distribution], let's be clear about that," Hudson said.

Hudson, like others in the vaccine business, believe the existing supply chain and production pace is the best the industry can do. But with the change in priority away from the U.S., the company has the potential to meet the still-unprecedented demand to vaccinate the world.

"We're right in the thick of it, you never know what's going to happen," Hudson said.

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