By Denise Roland 
 

PARIS--Sanofi SA's (SAN.FR) new Chief Executive Paul Hudson said Tuesday that the company needs to better focus its investment to prioritize areas where it can win.

In his first press conference for Sanofi, Mr. Hudson said he was spending his first weeks in the job deciding in which areas the company should direct investment.

"We need to make good choices," said the new CEO, who joined Sanofi from Novartis AG (NOVN.EB) last month. "I'm bringing a sense of urgency and prioritization."

Sanofi is one of the most diversified companies in the industry, spanning branded prescription drugs, vaccines and over-the-counter treatments. Within branded drugs, it produces medicines ranging from insulin for diabetes to specialty medicines for rare diseases.

Asked whether he would maintain that diversification, Mr. Hudson said the board "should expect that I should look with clear eyes at how we allocate capital."

Regarding the company's branded drug pipeline, Mr. Hudson said he would set a high bar for investment, requiring that drugs are the first of their kind and the best of their kind.

"We have to be more critical to decide whether we have literally life-changing science," he said.

Sanofi, maker of Lantus, the world's best-selling insulin, has long been associated with diabetes. But with sales of that product falling amid increased competition and pricing pressure in the all-important U.S. market, that franchise is shrinking. Mr. Hudson said he would not treat the diabetes franchise any differently from any other therapeutic area when deciding how best to allocate resources.

On deal-making, he said the company would first establish its priorities then "look at where we have gaps, where we should be stronger and find the best approach to deal with that."

Mr. Hudson said he would provide a strategy update to investors at an event in December.

 

Write to Denise Roland at denise.roland@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 01, 2019 04:36 ET (08:36 GMT)

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