Sanofi and Bayer Are Swapping Executives

(Bloomberg) -- Sanofi and Bayer AG, two European drugmakers with blockbuster medicines facing headwinds, are swapping top executives.

Sanofi is bringing in Bayer’s Dieter Weinand as executive vice president in charge of a new unit that combines its diabetes and cardiovascular operations with a broader group of established products, the Paris-based company said in a statement Thursday. At the same time, Stefan Oelrich, head of diabetes at Sanofi, will replace Weinand as the head of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division in November.

Sanofi has been pursuing new avenues of growth as its diabetes business in the U.S. grapples with increasing pricing pressure and its aging insulin Lantus fades. Oelrich said earlier this year that price competition in the diabetes field is “here to stay.”

Bayer is also grappling with a drug sales challenge, though it’s further down the road than the issues facing Sanofi. Xarelto, the heart drug responsible for one-fifth of Bayer’s prescription drug sales, will lose patent protection in less than five years, leaving the German company little time to find another growth driver. Meanwhile, Bayer has focused its resources on boosting its agriculture business by buying Monsanto Co., leaving fewer resources to do health deals.

Sanofi is creating a second new global unit focused on China and emerging markets to be led by Olivier Charmeil, the company said.

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