LONDON, March 14 Sanofi has won an
early green light from Britain for its game-changing eczema
medicine, boosting the French company's hopes for a product that
is also expected to win approval in the U.S. market this month.
Britain's medicines regulator has granted dupilumab a
positive scientific opinion through its Early Access to
Medicines Scheme, meaning patients can get the drug before it is
granted formal marketing authorisation, Sanofi said on Tuesday.
Dupilumab has impressed doctors in a series of clinical
trials over the past year and consensus analyst forecasts
already point to annual global sales of more than $4 billion by
2022, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The medicine, which was developed with Sanofi's long-time
partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is widely expected
to win a U.S. green light by a March 29 action date set by the
Food and Drug Administration.
Dupilumab works by inhibiting two proteins involved in the
body's immune response, known as IL-4 and IL-13, giving it an
unusually wide range of potential uses. Beyond eczema, or atopic
dermatitis, Sanofi believes it has the potential to help fight
14 different disorders, including asthma and food allergies.
Sanofi's research head, Elias Zerhouni, told Reuters last
week he had very high hopes for the medicine, which he said
signalled "the emergence of the new science and portfolio at
The Paris-based group needs to score some high-profile wins
on the new drug front to offset flagging sales in its big
diabetes business, where increasing competition and pressure on
prices has hit sales and profits.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely)