Sanofi Inks $435 Million Diabetes Deal With South Korea's Hanmi

South Korea’s Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co. surged to a record after entering into a licensing agreement with French drugmaker Sanofi for the development of investigational diabetes medicines.

Hanmi climbed as much as 30 percent to an all-time high of 711,000 Korean won in Seoul trading today. Under the agreement, Hanmi will receive an upfront payment of 400 million euros ($435 million), and is eligible for payments of up to 3.5 billion euros if it achieves certain sales and development milestones, the companies said in a statement yesterday.

As part of the pact, Sanofi will receive a worldwide license to develop and commercialize three investigational diabetes treatments, including a drug called efpeglenatide that belongs to a newer class of medicines called GLP1-agnostics that are used to control blood sugar. Hanmi will keep an exclusive option to co-commercialize the products in Korea and China.

Sanofi, France’s biggest company by market value, in October cut its forecast for sales of diabetes therapies in the next three years after sales of its best-selling Lantus insulin slumped.

Worldwide, diabetes drug sales may grow at a 9 percent compounded annual rate to reach $55 billion in 2018, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Growth is being driven by rising prevalence of the disease and drug development, particularly in the long-acting insulin, SGLT-2 and GLP-1 classes of treatments, BI said last June.

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