Sanofi research czar Elias Zerhouni has pushed for the company to delve deeply into the study of diseases before leaping into drug development. Now the French drug giant plans to collaborate with the software company NextBio to infuse patients' genomic and other data into its work on treatments for such diseases as cancer and diabetes.
Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher has been openly critical of his research operation in Toulouse, France. He said the researchers are costing too much money and haven't developed an important drug in 20 years.
Those howls you've been hearing about the looming threat of sequestration may soon be coming to an office near you. While much of the attention about the budget cuts mandated in absence of a deal between Democrats and Republicans has been focused on consumer items, the FDA as well as the NIH are looking at some painful cutbacks that could inflict long-term damage on the biopharma industry.
Sanofi has had a string of regulatory successes to boast about recently. There have been approvals for Kynamro, Zaltrap, Aubagio and Lyxumia in Europe. A decision on Lemtrada is on its way. And while all sorts of questions remain over just how much money these new drugs will earn, the pharma giant's regulatory wins have eased some of the pressure to prove that it can develop new drugs and win approvals.
Sanofi R&D chief Elias Zerhouni will take to the center stage at the J.P. Morgan conference in San Francisco today to spotlight a group of 17 late-stage drug programs that will ultimately make or break the pharma giant's case that it has reenergized its multibillion-dollar R&D effort.
Confirming French research workers' worst fears, Sanofi ($SNY) made clear yesterday that the Paris-based drugmaker plans to push ahead with major layoffs and the closure of its R&D operation in Toulouse, where the blood thinner Plavix was developed.
As Zerhouni tells the story, Sanofi is essentially starting over on the R&D side, picking up the pieces on the translational side of research; figuring out how to take something truly innovative in the lab and turn it into a new product.
The company has emphasized a focus on results of clinical programs over the scientific bureaucracy that has been implicated in the industry's lack of R&D productivity.
In one of the worst kept secrets in the industry, Sanofi has been in the scrum of potential buyers forming around Amylin in recent weeks.
This is the year that the patent cliff arrives with a vengeance at Sanofi ($SNY). With copycat versions of Plavix and Avapro gobbling market share, the pharma giant predicted a 15% plunge in profits