sanofi-aventis’ New Direction




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Video title: sanofi-aventis’ New Direction
Released on: June 09, 2009. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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Since Chris Viehbacher joined sanofi-aventis as CEO his aim has been to get the company recognised as a global healthcare company and not solely as a producer of vaccines. Jean-Claude Muller, Senior VP, Strategic and Prospective Initiatives, is at the forefront of this effort actively seeking new areas and markets that they can expand into. Here he discusses the recent acquisition of BiPar Sciences and the new deal with Oxford BioMedica as examples of how sanofi-aventis hopes to achieve its goals.
Role of Jean Claude Muller within sanofi-aventis.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome. We are here at Bio 2009 at the annual convention here in Atlanta. We are here to record a series of programs with leading pharmaceutical and bio technology companies to talk about both their vision and what they are doing to build their organizations in tough economic times.
Fintan walton:
Hello and welcome to pharmaventures business review here at Bio in Atlanta. On this show I have Jean Claude Muller who is senior vice president of Prospective and Strategic Initiatives at Sanofi-aventis. Welcome to the show.
Jean Claude Muller:
Good morning Fintan.
Fintan walton:
Good morning. Jean Claude Mullercan you describe what your role is specifically within sanofi-aventis organization?
Jean Claude Muller:
I am currently in charge of a department called Prospective and strategic initiatives at the corporate level based in Paris and the main feature there is let's say prepare the future and then look how to best move into let's say new areas and currently I am mainly in charge of preparing R&D 2015 to see which could be let's say new streams, new activities, new areas of interest. chris viehbacher when he arrived in December first said clearly that we want to move into new areas to become a global healthcare company and we are known to be a pharma in the vaccine business but we are currently already be able let's say very active in some areas and what I am currently which could be areas for growths and which could be areas of let's say major impact for the company and for the patients.
Vision 2015: Growth strategy through alliances and acquisitions.
Fintan walton:
So part of that growth strategy going at 2015 is looking at what changes will happen internal to the organization but also there are types of alliances that have you setup obviously from that also, the potential acquisitions that will allow you to fulfill your vision?
Jean Claude Muller:
Absolutely and as let's say most of the messages we delivered here is also we are on a transforming process. The main transforming process which is already seen on the outside world is indeed to become more open to the external world. Chris again has mentioned on several occasions that he would be very willing to see as much as 50% of our portfolio coming from alliances, partnerships, acquisitions because they are so much out there and when you listen to what all this things which are happening at this meeting today so much out there that we should certainly get try to get access to this innovation and to help to get growths and as I said path formations.
Fintan walton:
So I mean sanofi-aventis has, you know, in past if you look back didn't do that many alliances so we can expect an increase in the number of alliances and deals which you are forming?
Jean Claude Muller:
Oh yes if you look already what has been performed in the first semester and semester isn't over yet, you will see that we have made almost every second week an announcement on let's say alliances, acquisition, be that public or be that public private types of alliances because as I have just said that we believe that there is a lot out of there and we should be highly competing to try to get access to what is new idea.
Recent acquisitions and deals.
Fintan walton:
So I look at the deals you have done recently you have done a number of acquisitions? could you describe what those-those acquisitions are? And why you are doing those acquisitions?
Jean Claude Muller:
Our focus is let's say two of them also there are far more but what I will is focus on two of them in the R&D area. One is this the company BiPar [PharmaDeals ID = 33133]located in San Francisco which has currently a PARP inhibitor for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer and where we believe this could be this is currently first in class and could become a major product. We will announce the results of the phase II trials at the end of this month at the ASCO meeting and this typical to show that we are moving into new area and the best possible way there and we have had several discussions with them was finally to make an acquisition but the risk taking acquisition whereby we still share risks, risks let's say the the BiPar company and let it work as a standalone company not just integrated fully into our organization so that they will keep the agility fast moving area and making sure that they do the best with this product to make it available to patient as soon as possible.
Fintan walton:
Right.
Jean Claude Muller:
And the second one I would like to talk out is the [PharmaDeals ID = 33123]new agreement we had with Oxford Bio Medica. We had an agreement with this UK based company in the area of cancer unfortunately the product may not have all let's say the credential we expected to do so and therefore we have a given the rights back to Oxford Bio Medica but Oxford Bio Medica is a very good partner. They have a new technology in the area of gene therapy and especially for the treatment of the eyethe aging eye. So this gave us an opportunity to move into new area which is called the ophthalmology area and we believe that based on the technology they have, based on the knowledge they have this is may be building a new partnership whereby again Oxford Bio Medica would be let's say making most of the studies we would give lots of incentives and ideas of how to do this things but they would really be running the studies until there is a very good proof of concept. So just to show these are two examples recent examples of what the way we want to do alliances.
Changes within business development licensing fraternity of sanofi-aventis.
Fintan walton:
Right. Now changing the policy with in sanofi-aventis means you have to change the way the organization works so what changes have taken place within sanofi-aventis particularly from the business development licensing fraternity?
Jean Claude Muller:
The first change that really took place is we have we have enforced strongly enforced departments within R&D on the one side and the recent business development to make sure that not only we make deals but we have the best access to information that we let's say have access to external innovation, be able to let's say be much faster in assessing a project whatever that is accepting it or turning it down and have integrated teams between business development, R&D, marketing, Finance all those things to make sure that we move very fast at it. The second large point on this one is a commitment from Chris Viehbacher again. What he said he wants top management to be involved as much as 20% of their time to make sure that only we assess those things but we also make the agreements and make them happen and when they have happened that we are the best partners and that we make sure that we work with those people in the best possible way to get the success story at the very end.
Addressing the issues of alliance management.
Fintan walton:
Right. You mentioned the importance of the relationship with oxford bio medica clearly that means you have to have a good strategic alliance management team as well so how does sanofi-aventis address the issues of alliance management?
Jean Claude Muller:
Yes, Clearly as you indicated we have an strategic alliance management team which is being enforced too, four of our people have been trained for a long time to deal with alliances because that is something someway as running an internal project, making sure that both have interest and both ways work its ways and have an fully dedicated team will be in charge of those one reporting to top management on those issues and the more alliances we will have the more we will enforce this in organization.
Current financial difficulties of biotech companies and role of sanofi-aventis in assisting the survival of good technologies and good products.
Fintan walton:
Okay. Right, Now the other thing that we have to address obviously is the fact that there are more biotech companies facing difficulties now with financing and so forth so what is it how do you see that from sanofi-aventis perspective? Is that do you see that as an opportunity for yourselves or how can you assist in making sure that those companies with good technologies, good products can survive?
Jean Claude Muller:
Yeah you are right its extremely difficult today for let's say startup companies to raise the potential money for those ones so I think what will be needed in the future I do not have all the solutions but what we will need it for the future is to build new type of alliances and when you know you have all the partnership, or the in licensing or the acquisition I do believe they are the ways to do things. In a way whereby one would assist let's say raise funding at the proper time but where the smaller company would run the whole let's say discovery and early phase things while we will just assist them and then see what is the best possible way. So we will not become a venture capital company that we expect some of our partners have become so I don't think that's really what we want to do. Think we what we want to have is a full risk sharing with them so that they have access to the fundings they need to get things done but where they would be independent enough to be able to have as I said earlier this agility to move around to be a biotech company in that respect and then come with deliverables and then you know once you have the deliverables to develop then it's usually different game and that's where my we should take the lead in those respects. So I would say we have to build new alliances to be smart and see with the partner how to share the best possible ways to do so.
sanofi-aventis 2015 view: strategic review and acquisitions in emerging markets
Fintan walton:
Right. You mentioned at the beginning the 2015 vision for sanofi-aventis growing the business going forward so in that vision what do you see? How do you see sanofi-aventis? What sort of organization can we expect to come out of the strategic review that you have done?
Jean Claude Muller:
What I see for time being is that we cannot only have drugs or vaccines. we have to provide I would say a full packaged service in certain diseases and there are certain ways where we can be a leader in providing a full package of services which can be the drugs, which can be diagnostics, which can be the devices around those things but make some also the service around the patients the healthcare gives and all those things. I think this is a shift in paradigm to see what we can do for patients at the end and this can this is not only for patients let's say in developed countries also have to see how this would be best done in places which in emerging countries and therefore having a regional approach I mean you know the ones(indiscernable) fits all times I am not saying it is fully over but cannot be the only paradigm. We really have to work to make to see that disease dependant and region dependant you have to develop different strategy and then implement this one. We are located all over the world. We have the possibility to report them for everybody including emerging countries or the vaccine business for instance and I do believe that in that respect we can make a difference.
Fintan walton:
Right. So it's what you are saying there is quiet important because the concept of taking a pharmaceutical company moving more towards a service based
Jean Claude Muller:
Global healthcare company.
Fintan walton:
Healthcare company which is reaching to the patients, so patients experience of a pharmaceutical company may not be just in the packet of tablets or tapes but it will also be around the care that the patients gets is up the concept.
Jean Claude Muller:
Absolutely.
Fintan walton:
And you mentioned the emerging markets and obviously correctly each area within the world has got its own specific needs so can we expect different strategies say for the emerging markets to ways in that?
Jean Claude Muller:
Oh yes I would believe so. I would believe that we will have to see that you cannot approach a certain disease in the same way in let's say places whereby there is health source there is healthcare for everybody and places where there is not healthcare for everybody and see how to best make sure that patient who are in need get access to the appropriate things they can have. We have developed products let's say 10 or 15 years ago which are very safe and very efficacious. Some of those are still not available in the emerging markets and we still certainly have to do something for that.
Fintan walton:
Right. In setting that vision and I mentioned this earlier it's going to be important to build a new sanofi-aventis into do that it's gonna have to be through acquisitions?
Jean Claude Muller:
Oh yeah. Certainly has to be let's say in opening ourselves through certain ways, you say acquisition it can be partnerships it can be all the things whatsoever. we already did a few things I talked about the emerging markets we already made the acquisitions of three companies in the area of let's say genetics for instance in Brazil, in Mexico as well as in Czech republic just to show that this is also an access not only to the blockbuster strategy but also lets say to make available drugs which have been around for quite a while at reasonable price to most people in those areas.
Fintan walton:
And those three acquisitions just happened in the last few months as well indeed.
Jean Claude Muller:
Yes they did.
Fintan walton:
Jean Claude Muller thank you very much indeed for coming on the show and telling us all about sanofi-aventis's new vision. Thank you very much.
Jean Claude Muller:
Thank you Fintan.
Jean Claude Muller
Senior VP Prospective and strategic initiatives
Jean Claude Muller,Senior VP Prospective&Strategic Initiatives sanofi-aventis Jean Claude Muller Started his career in 1974 as an organic chemist at Roche at Basle (Switzerland). He moved to Nutley (USA) in 1979. In 1983, he joined Synthelabo, Paris (France) where he leaded the cardiovascular research organization for several years prior to becoming in 1994 a corporate manager in charge of external projects and research alliances at Synthelabo was a deal architect in the genomic alliances with Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (USA) and Genset (France) and the acquisition of the Strasbourg Research facility from Hoechst Marion Roussel. In 1992, he was the Strategic Corporate Manager Responsible for the Assessment of External Opportunities, the Identification and Implementation of R&D Alliances and the Competitive Intelligence Surveys. In 2003, he became Vice-President Administration & Resources. He was in charge of the integration between sanofi and aventis, of managing the resources and budget of sanofi-aventis R&D and in charge of Instrumental in the alliance building with Regeneron. Since November 2008, he is a Current Senior Vice President Prospective & Strategic Initiatives he is in charge of constructing R&D 2015.
Sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis (Euronext: SAN, NYSE: SNY), headquartered in Paris, France, is a multinational pharmaceutical company, the world's third-largest by prescription sales. sanofi-aventis engages in the research and development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products for sale principally in the prescription market, but the firm also develops over-the-counter medication. sanofi-aventis covers 7 major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, diabetes, internal medicine, oncology, thrombosis and vaccines (it is the world's largest producer of the latter through its subsidiary Sanofi Pasteur. The company is a full member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).