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Sanofi diabetes chief said to leave after insulin forecast

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(Bloomberg — Sanofi’s head of diabetes medicine sales has left the company, weeks after the drugmaker fired its CEO and said revenue from its best-selling insulin will be flat next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bob Rossilli, who worked at the Paris-based company’s offices in Bridgewater, New Jersey, left his job the week of Nov. 17, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private company matters.

Jack Cox, a spokesman for Sanofi, confirmed that the executive left and declined to comment on reasons for the departure. Rossilli couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Diabetes sales are now overseen by Scott Oehrlein, vice president and head of general medicines sales, Cox said.

Sanofi surprised investors on Oct. 28 with a tepid forecast for Lantus insulin, and ended Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher six-year tenure the next day. Rossilli was hired under Viehbacher and both are former GlaxoSmithKline Plc managers.

Before he was fired, Viehbacher told investors that Sanofi cut Lantus prices last quarter to get on U.S. drug benefit managers’ reimbursement lists in the face of competition from Novo Nordisk A/S, the world’s biggest insulin maker. Since 2007, U.S. prices for one form of Lantus have increased 160 percent. The prices for another form have increased 97 percent.

Lantus, which last year garnered 5.72 billion euros ($7.04 billion) in sales, starts losing patent protection next year. The drugmaker said on Nov. 20 that revenue from diabetes treatments, which currently account for more than one-fifth of sales, will be flat to slightly higher through 2018, below analysts’ expectations.

Sanofi shares fell as much as 2 percent, after rising earlier in the day, and were down 1.9 percent at 76.43 euros at 3:28 p.m. in Paris. The stock has declined 0.9 percent this year.

While Sanofi is currently being led by Chairman Serge Weinberg, other changes are taking place as the company awaits a new CEO.

Cox confirmed that Antoine Ortoli, senior vice president of intercontinental global operations, will retire at the end of the year and be replaced by Jerome Silvestre, who for now also retains his role of senior vice president of the global generics division. He will report to Peter Guenter, executive vice president of global commercial operations.

–With assistance from Simeon Bennett in Geneva.


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