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STOCKWATCH: The White Whales

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

The modern pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors are young and fast-moving. Their history is still being written. The recent landscape of the pharmaceutical sector has been dominated by a plague of the blockbuster product patent expiries whose cumulative loss in sales has beleaguered the sector for the last three years. There has indeed been a good deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the loss of major, highly profitable products. One could ask why so many large high-margin companies employing so many individuals of high intellectual capacity are apparently so enfeebled by events that although they undoubtedly erode the bottom line are nevertheless are so highly predictable and, therefore (one would have thought), highly manageable. But that is for another time. For now, at least according to Sanofi’s recent full-year 2012 financial results (scripintelligence.com, 12 February 2013), the pharmaceutical collective is largely beyond the patent cliff.

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