Sanofi Stalled MS Drug to Avoid Shareholder Payments, Says Lawsuit

Nov. 11, 2015
Sanofi has been accused of stalling development and marketing of its multiple sclerosis drug, Lemtrada, to avoid paying $708 million to Genzyme shareholders, as promised in a 2011 acquisition agreement.

When Sanofi acquired Genzyme, Genzyme was in the process of developing Lemtrada. The merger agreement dictated that Sanofi give Genzyme shareholders tradable certificates granting them payments if Lemtrada won FDA approval by March 31, 2014 and additional payments if the drug reached certain sales benchmarks.

According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by American Stock Transfer & Trust, Sanofi ignored the FDA's concerns about the designs of Lemtrada's clinical trials, resulting in the FDA denying Sanofi's first approval application. The lawsuit also claims that once Lemtrada was finally granted approval in November 2014, Sanofi did not aggressively promote the drug, instead focusing on Aubagio, another multiple sclerosis drug.