Through a spate of dealmaking over the past few years, Sanofi has made its intentions in the gene and cell therapy field clear. The company seems uninterested in hard-to-manufacture treatments that consist of individual patient cells genetically modified outside the body, instead favoring ones meant to be used “off the shelf.”
In 2020, for instance, the French drugmaker bought Kiadis Pharma, which is working on more convenient cell treatments for cancer. Sanofi acquired another off-the-shelf cell therapy developer, Tidal Therapeutics, the following year, and envisions its recent investments in messenger RNA technology as aiding in the effort.
In doing so, Sanofi isn’t just bypassing the first generation of so-called CAR-T therapies, which are powerful tools against certain blood cancers but are limited by their complexity. It’s also casting aside outside-the-body treatments for genetic diseases, a class that includes drugs from CRISPR Therapeutics and Bluebird bio that have shown considerable promise treating blood diseases like beta thalassemia and sickle cell. READ MORE
By Ben Fidler
Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.
Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.
There is lots of talk about diversity and inclusion in business, including in pharma and medtech. A new report by the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a think tank focusing on migration and diversity, released its “Minority Businesses Matter: Europe” report highlighting the successes and challenges of ethnic minority-owned businesses in Europe.