The Role of Partnering in Fostering Innovation in the Biopharma Industry

Nov 18, 2020

A Q&A with Sanofi

Last month, Sanofi, MassBio, and Biocom held the first-ever bicoastal partnering day to provide Sanofi with a premier portal to connect with the most innovative biotech companies, entrepreneurs, academics, research institutions, accelerators, and incubators in Massachusetts, California, and across the U.S. The event was unequivocally a success. We sat down with the panelists from the Sanofi Plenary Session to find out why partnering events like this are so important to fostering innovation in the biopharma industry.

Sanofi Plenary Session Panelists include:

  • Brian Bronk, Head of Business Development, Rare Diseases, Rare Blood, MS/Neuro & Innovative Technologies, Sanofi
  • Jason Hafler, Managing Director of Sanofi Ventures, Sanofi
  • Donna Martin, Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur Business Development & Licensing, Sanofi
  • Michael Palladinetti, Head MS, Oncology and I&I Business Development & Licensing, Sanofi
  • Rachel Sha, Head of Digital Business Development & Licensing, Sanofi

Why are partnering events so important to the success of our industry?

Great ideas can come from anywhere and the road from idea to medicine is quite long. Through partnering, we can accelerate translation of those ideas into medicines and serve more patients globally. Partnering events like these are key to this process by allowing us to engage with innovative companies who are members of different ecosystems.

What long-term impact do you believe the COVID-19 pandemic will have on pharma/biotech collaboration?

The fundamental drivers for collaboration between pharma and biotech remain constant despite COVID. In the long-term, we do not expect that the pandemic will have a major impact on our partnering efforts other than depending more heavily on virtual / digital means.

Can you tell us about the impact of the bi-coastal partnering event with Biocom and MassBio to Sanofi’s business? What set this apart from others?

Events like these are important for engaging with the larger biopharma community. This event in particular provided a bridge from BIO to JPMorgan, offering Sanofi a high volume of tailored opportunities and access to innovation across both the east and west coast. The virtual format was seamless, eliminating complexities of travel and enabling a broader reach; we were able to cover a lot more territory through this approach. We believe that virtual events like this will continue to play an important role in our outreach strategy in a post-Covid world.

What is the biggest unmet medical need Sanofi is hoping to address in the next 5-10 years and what role does the startup community play in meeting this goal?

There is no single largest unmet need but what we can say is Sanofi wants to be at the frontier of medicine making in the areas where we are strategically focused. Collaborating with the startup community is a key component to not only reaching the frontier, but also to pushing the boundaries of medicine.

To continue to foster innovation while operating in a remote environment, MassBio is holding its first-ever Partnering Week. Learn more here.

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