Sanofi secures computational help for rare disease research

Sanofi ($SNY) has made another move to tap external partners for new science and technology, this time in a tie-up that enables the French drug giant to benefit from computational approaches to disease research. In Sanofi's three-year research pact with the Center for Genomic Regulation (Centre de Regulació Genòmica - CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, the partners expect to focus initially on rare and genetic diseases, according to CRG's release.  

Sanofi and CRG plan to tap computational and bioinformatics tools to aid in translating basic science into commercial products for patients. So far, the pair have joined forces to find new weapons against infectious diseases, use discoveries in synthetic biology to deliver drugs, understand cellular trans-differentiation pathways linked to diseases, and spot new targets from genomic data.

Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher has been an outspoken advocate of R&D collaborations as a way to bring new innovations into his company without relying solely on internal groups. The CRG tie-up also boosts the company's collaborations in rare genetic diseases, a field in which Sanofi became a major player via its $20.1 billion buyout of Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme last year.

"We recognize that in order to deliver on our promise to address patients' needs, we need to tap into and enable innovation inside and outside our walls. Our new relationship with the CRG demonstrates our commitment to work with partners on conditions with unmet and growing medical needs," Maya Said, Sanofi's vice president for strategy, science policy and external innovation, stated.

- here's the release
- see the Pharma Times report