Dr Allan Jarvis, VP Corporate Development, Sanofi-Pasteur
Partnering: Success in the 21st Century
One of the more popular speakers at the Congress, Allan Jarvis of Sanofi-Pasteur, spoke on the role of partnering to accelerate growth. As a backdrop for the most recent discussion, he gave an overview of Sanofi’s strategy on the first day of the Congress. There are two key forces that drive big pharma to partner with others throughout the value chain: fueling the R&D pipeline and gaining access to new markets.
Fueling the R&D pipeline
The product pipeline is at the heart of a pharma company’s future prospects. In Sanofi’s pipeline are vaccines against dengue fever, rotavirus, and pneumococcal as well as better versions of pediatric combination vaccines. However, partnership is required to advance these products as judged by the fact that 65% of products in clinical testing are a result of partnerships. These relationships are even more important in preclinical studies where 80% of products are from partnerships. Sanofi has a broad interest in partnerships that is not restricted to just acquiring product candidates. They are looking for new antigens, formulations, delivery systems, and even outsourced research or manufacturing capabilities. As an example, Sanofi has partnered with the Naval Medical Research Center to develop a vaccine against travelers’ diarrhea. They have also partnered with VaxDesign to use the proprietary surrogate human immune system product to accelerate product evaluation.
Gaining access to new markets
Looking at annual birth cohorts, the four countries of Mexico, Brazil, India and China represent nearly 50 million births. That compares to only 8 million births every year in the combined countries of Western Europe and the United States. These relatively untapped markets represent compound annual growth rates of 15%-20% thanks to the growth of both public and private spending, a renewed focus on strong childhood healthcare, and the many unmet vaccination needs. For instance, China will be the second largest vaccine market by 2020. The Chinese government increased spending on the national immunization plan by a factor of ten from 2006 to 2007 and nearly doubled the number of diseases covered. The prospects for the Indian market are similar.
However, there are some inherent challenges to entering these markets. Sanofi has mitigated these by partnering with local developers and manufacturers. With Birmex in Mexico, they built a manufacturing facility that can produce 25M doses per year. In Brazil, Sanofi joined with Instituto Butantan to locally produce flu vaccines; the result of that collaboration is expected to expand immunization rates, improve the local response to pandemics and serve as a foundation for the introduction of other vaccines.
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