Sanofi CEO Bets Outside U.S., Gears Up for Flu Pandemic, and Seeks To Learn From Biotech

6/19/09Follow @xconomy

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at going from a target to Phase I trials. They’ve been able to demonstrate a lot of excellence in this area. It’s the type of company we want to partner with. But again, respecting the fact that they are good at what they do. We should partner in a way that’s productive for both sides. We do this with Regeneron in Westchester County, NY. They have a very good platform for generating monoclonal antibodies. We provide funding, and we have collaboration, but at the end of the day they do what they do well and we respect that.

I’m actually looking to move 50 percent of our discovery research be externally driven, and 50 percent be internally driven.

X: Any particular therapeutic areas you want to grow in or add?

CV: There are a couple areas we’re traditionally strong in and will continue to be, like diabetes and oncology, but I’ve moved away from thinking about therapeutic areas. I’m thinking more about personalized medicine. I think you have to look much more specifically at where unmet need is. You’re getting into a greater subcategorization of disease. You might say there’s not a lot of unmet need in cardiovascular disease. It may be true if you say there’s not unmet need in lowering LDL cholesterol, but there’s probably still unmet need in raising HDL. So you have to look much more closely. These broad categories people talk about will stop. The big one-size-fits-all medicine is a thing of the past. We’re going to see more targeted medicines.

X: Have you planted any seeds for new partnerships here in Seattle?

CV: No, but I do try to spend 20 percent of my time looking at external growth opportunities. I like to be personally involved. I’m actually regularly on the West Coast and will be meeting with people and looking for things. BiPar and Exelixis are just the start.

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