French financial prosecutors have launched a probe into possible share price manipulation by French pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi, a legal source told AFP on Tuesday.
Confirming a report in the investigative daily La Lettre, the source, who asked not to be named, said that a preliminary investigation had been opened in March into “the publication of false or misleading information and share price manipulation” in connection with Sanofi’s financial reporting.
The allegations concerned the group’s blockbuster asthma and eczema drug, Dupixent, the newspaper said.
The source did not specify whether any searches or arrests had been made as part of the investigation.
Contacted by AFP, Sanofi said it was “not aware” of any such probe.
Blockbuster drugs are treatments that generate annual sales of more than one billion euros ($1.1 billion).
Dupixent is not only used to treat eczema and asthma, but also ailments of the sinus and the oesophagus.
Since taking over as Sanofi’s chief executive in 2019, British-born head Paul Hudson has sought to increase sales of the drug and widen the medical indications for which it approved for use.
Annual sales of the drug rose from two billion euros in 2019 to five billion euros in 2021 and on the publication of Sanofi’s latest quarterly results at the end of October, Hudson said that Dupixent sales were on track to approaching 11 billion euros annually.
Investors, however, have become spooked by Sanofi’s dependence on Dupixent, whose patent is scheduled to expire in 2031. (AFP)