Delivering Innovative Therapies and Solutions: A Pharma Day® Q&A with Chiesi Global Rare Diseases

Apr 22, 2024

A woman with safety glasses and white lab coat using a pipette in a lab setting. Text on image includes Chiesi Pharma Day, May 29, 2024, 3:00 PM - 6:30 PM, MassBioHub.

The following is an interview with Fernando Tricta, M.D., Head of Strategic Innovation at Chiesi Global Rare Diseases. To learn more about Chiesi’s approach to innovation and partnering, register for Chiesi 2024 Pharma Day® on May 29, 2024 in the MassBioHub.

What is Chiesi’s approach to innovation?

There is a societal obligation to address issues impacting the estimated 350 million people affected by a rare disease. Chiesi Global Rare Diseases was established to deliver innovative therapies and solutions. As a family business, and as a certified Benefit Corporation, we have a long history of commitment to the rare disease community and will continue to significantly invest in innovation and seek opportunities to improve health outcomes as we add to our pipeline of medicines.

In 2022, we created a Strategic Innovation Unit to scout and evaluate innovative therapeutic modalities emerging from academic and research institutes, as well as from start-up and early-stage biotech organizations, that may provide long-term solutions for people affected by rare diseases.

Why is Chiesi working with MassBio to support emerging companies?

We need to recognize that collaborating with other institutions for the unified purpose of delivering treatments for people affected by rare diseases is a public health imperative. We are focused on taking a long-term approach to research and the translation of innovative technologies into therapies to help the rare disease community. The collaboration with MassBio will enable Chiesi to access the latest scientific breakthroughs available through the broad MassBio network and explore potential collaborations.

In one example, we recently announced a U.S. networkwide sponsorship of BioInnovation Labs (BioLabs), which is a leading developer and operator of life science coworking spaces with 12 active facilities and a growing network in the U.S. and internationally. This gives us the opportunity to host office hours, workshops, and other onsite events for companies residing in their spaces and within their network, and to broadly engage with innovators in the life sciences sector.

In addition to BioLabs and MassBio, we also sponsor Launch Bio and California Life Sciences to ensure we get access to the various growing ecosystems as we aim to identify and advance the development of new medicines.

Which therapeutic or R&D areas does Chiesi want to partner on? What types of companies or innovators does Chiesi want to partner with?

We embrace drug development risks for the sake of people affected by rare diseases and pursue opportunities that satisfy a true unmet medical need either by focusing on diseases without any approved treatment or by developing innovative therapies that improve the current standard of care.

Our Strategic Innovation Unit is focused on three areas of innovation including gene editing, gene therapy, and delivery vectors. We are scouting and evaluating innovative therapeutic modalities emerging from academic and research institutes, as well as from start-up and early-stage biotech organizations. We want to serve as a preferred partner to advance development efforts, particularly to those that are investigating new modalities, and we have extensive experience taking products through clinical trials, regulatory processes and commercialization.

How will Chiesi help emerging companies grow their businesses?

We are a global company with a presence in 30 countries and our rare diseases division is headquartered in the research hub of Boston. We are in an ideal position to serve as a preferred partner for early-stage companies around the world. We are making significant investments to serve the unmet needs of people affected by rare diseases and continue to expand disease indications and access for people living with rare diseases in new geographies.

Since the establishment of our rare disease business unit in 2020, our focus on rare diseases has increased from two products reaching 1,255 people affected by rare diseases to eight products marketed in the U.S. affecting about 140,000 patients across four therapeutic areas. This represents a more than 11,000% increase in access to therapy in only four years. Together we can provide long-term solutions for people affected by rare diseases.

About the Author

Fernando Tricta, M.D.
Head of Strategic Innovation, Chiesi Global Rare Diseases

Dr. Tricta is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist who has dedicated special attention to the care of people with hemoglobinopathies. He brings more than 20 years of industry experience having served as Vice President, Medical Affairs at ApoPharma and Medical Director at Apotex Research. During his most recent tenure at ApoPharma, Fernando provided consultation on all medical issues including clinical trial strategy decisions for both pre-market and post-market studies in alignment with corporate policies and regulatory requirements. Fernando received the 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Award from Cooley’s Anemia Foundation and the 2018 United Kingdom Thalassaemia Society Award for his work on the development of a treatment of iron overload in patients with thalassemia.

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