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Sanofi To Buy Colombia's Genfar; Says Lyxumia Diabetes Drug Studies Positive

French drug giant Sanofi S.A. (SNY) agreed Tuesday to acquire Colombian generic drug maker Genfar S.A. to further expand into Latin America. The financial terms for the deal were not disclosed by the companies. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.

"With the acquisition of Genfar, Sanofi has a unique opportunity to strengthen its presence in Latin America through a large portfolio of affordable pharmaceuticals in a broad range of markets in the Andean countries and Central America," said Heraldo Marchezini, Senior Vice President, Latin America, Sanofi.

The deal will help Paris, France-based Sanofi to further boost its offerings in affordable pharmaceuticals and its existing capabilities in Latin America. It also accelerates Sanofi's diversification in the Andean Region, and complements its strong portfolio particularly in Brazil.

Genfar is the second largest generic company and leading pharmaceutical company in Colombia, with operations in Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and ten other Latin American countries.

Bogota, Colombia-based Genfar, with its broad and complete portfolio of affordable pharmaceutical medicines, generated total sales of $133 million in 2011 with 30 percent of sales generated outside of Colombia.

Genfar manufactures and produces generic, over the counter, and prescription drugs for both human and animals.

The deal is an excellent strategic fit to Sanofi's core strengths in the field of healthcare. It falls in line with two of its stated seven growth platforms of emerging markets and animal health. The other growth platforms are diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare and the new Genzyme.

Sanofi's animal health footprint in the region will also receive a boost with the addition of Genfar's animal health products to Merial's portfolio. Merial is the animal health subsidiary of Sanofi, and was initially formed in August 1997 as a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) and Sanofi.

Separately, Sanofi announced positive results for its late stage study for Lyxumia or lixisenatide for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes treated in monotherapy, with various oral anti-diabetic agents or in combination with basal insulin.

The study showed that once-daily Lyxumia or lixisenatide, significantly delayed gastric emptying, and significantly reduced post-prandial glucose or PPG, in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The results were presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Berlin.

The company revealed that gastric emptying, the rate at which food passes through the stomach into the intestine, is modulated by Glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1, and is a major determinant of PPG in both health and diabetes.

The company noted that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has acknowledged receipt of the Marketing Authorization Application filing for Lyxumia in November 2011, but will be submitted for regulatory approval as lixisenatide in the U.S. in December 2012.

Lixisenatide was in-licensed from Zealand Pharma A/S, and will be marketed as Lyxumia in Europe and lixisenatide in the U.S. Lixisenatide is not currently approved or licensed anywhere in the world. Nearly 348 million people worldwide are said to be living with type 2 diabetes today, and is growing at an alarming rate.

SNY closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $44.02, up $0.05 or 0.11% on a volume of 1.43 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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