Sanofi’s Strategic Shake-Up: 11 CNS Drugs, Including Frisium and Gardenal, Find a New Home with Pharmanovia
In a bold move on Monday, Sanofi parted ways with 11 prized brands from its central nervous system (CNS) portfolio, entrusting them to the capable hands of U.K.-based Pharmanovia. Among the notable names in this transfer were epilepsy treatments Frisium and Gardenal.
While the financial specifics of this deal remain undisclosed, what’s clear is that these medicines cover a diverse range of therapeutic areas, all characterized by ongoing unmet needs. They span psycholeptics, anxiolytics, anti-epileptics, and anti-psychotics—each addressing critical aspects of mental health and epilepsy.
Pharmanovia’s CEO, James Burt, emphasized the strategic synergy behind this acquisition, highlighting the alignment with the company’s core sub-therapy focuses. Burt stated that these additions will play a pivotal role in addressing significant unmet needs in the realms of mental health and epilepsy.
Among the stars in this divestiture are several benzodiazepine clobazam brands, including Sentil, Urbanol, Noiafren, Castilium, and Frisium. These cater to anxiety in specific patient groups, with Frisium also serving as an adjunctive therapy for epilepsy.
Sanofi is also bidding farewell to epilepsy medication Gardenal, vertigo and nausea reliever Stemetil, and Tercian, a treatment for psychotic conditions and anxiety in patients who haven’t found success with other therapies.
Pharmanovia, on the other hand, is a global healthcare company specializing in lifecycle management. Their approach involves revitalizing, extending, and expanding the lifecycle of established medicines to enhance patient outcomes and medical experiences.
This move by Sanofi reflects a strategic shift away from its CNS business, as seen in its previous sale of two product portfolios to Neuraxpharm in July 2022. The first portfolio encompassed 15 CNS medicines, while the second targeted assets for pain and vascular diseases. Similarly, Sanofi’s deal with Pharmanovia keeps the financial details under wraps.
In June 2021, Sanofi embarked on a similar journey by selling 16 consumer healthcare products to Stada, aiming to streamline its consumer health portfolio and accelerate growth.
While Sanofi trims its CNS and consumer health businesses, it’s been making bold investments in rare diseases and diabetes. In May 2023, the company signed a $150 million worldwide licensing agreement with Maze Therapeutics for their glycogen synthase 1 program, a promising candidate for Pompe disease. And in March 2023, Sanofi acquired Provention Bio for $2.9 billion, gaining control over the diabetes delay drug Tzield (teplizumab-mzwv).