France's Ipsen plans $3.6bln investment in drugs pipeline

Forecasts CAGR of 2-5% in net sales for 2020-24


French healthcare company Ipsen said on Tuesday it is planning to invest about 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) by 2024 to grow its drugs pipeline, generated partly through spending cuts.

The group, which develops and commercializes medicines for use in oncology, will focus on rarer tumors and look for potential acquisitions among small to medium-sized laboratories, Chief Executive David Loew told reporters.

"We will improve our targeting to really take this niche that multinationals typically don't cover," he added.

Loew took the top job at Ipsen in July after almost seven years with Sanofi.

Ipsen said it planned to raise money for research and development through cutting general and administrative expenses and streamlining existing operations.

It is running a strategic review of its consumer healthcare division, which brings in under 10% of group revenue.

Loew said the company was looking to free funds for R&D with more efficient manufacturing and selective research, but that a major restructuring would not be necessary.

Ipsen is planning to grow its drugs pipeline to help it offset the impact of generic alternatives of its top-selling cancer treatment, Somatuline, which are expected to be released next year.

Somatuline also faces a possible reduction in U.S. Medicare drug prices, though analysts see little chance of these coming into force. 

Loew said its palovarotene product - a possible treatment for an extremely rare disease that causes muscles and tissue to turn to bone - could launch as soon as end-2021 in the United States.

The company cut its 2022 outlook in February to take into account setbacks in its palovarotene trials.

The firm forecast compound annual growth of 2% to 5% in group net sales between 2020 and 2024.

Credit Suisse said the targets and focus on external innovation were as expected, given major mid-term uncertainties and a weak internal pipeline. ($1=0.8365 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Jan Harvey) ((; +48 58 769 65 92;))

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