Care about R&D strategies? Have we got a summit for you
If there’s one underlying lesson I’ve learned watching biopharma in action over the past 20 years or so, it’s that no R&D organization can rest on its laurels. Especially the larger ones. You’ve had a big success? Great. Now how do you plan to follow up on that? And how soon? Hit by failure? What’s Plan B, C, D and E?
And that’s the central message of my upcoming European Biopharma Summit coming up next week. I’ll be talking to 5 top biopharma executives about their next-gen game plans.
— Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen and I have had a lot to talk about. Semaglutide has been the kind of success story any company likes to tell, especially now that it looks to make blockbuster returns in fighting obesity — one of the toughest nuts to crack in drug R&D history. But we know that already. What happens now in R&D? The company has some ambitious plans for building the pipeline, and a clear strategy for where it wants to head. And there are even more plans for semaglutide in R&D.
— Susan Galbraith had a big role to fill when she took José Baselga’s job at AstraZeneca, following the top scientist’s tragic death. But coming from the translational side of cancer drug research, she’s topping a lengthy career in Big Pharma by following insights into the 2.0 generation of cancer drugs and combos. She has a lot to say, and I’m paying close attention. You should too.
— One of the key issues in any big development group is defining risk. How do you embrace the idea of a high-risk, high-reward program? For Novartis development chief John Tsai, that involves a “wild card” strategy we’ll be discussing, where the pharma picks up a tough challenge and goes into the clinic — knowing that a win could deliver a company-building drug, but that success is far from secure. That’s one of several things we’ll be talking about Novartis’ development strategy.
— Then there’s mRNA. You don’t even need to explain it anymore. What started out with a handful of startups a decade ago has become the New, New Thing in biopharma now that the tech has delivered the top 2 vaccines being used to fight a pandemic. Of course, there’s a lot — and I mean a lot — that still has to be done to prove the full potential. And there are definitely no guarantees. I’ll be talking with Jean-François Toussaint, the head of global R&D at Sanofi Pasteur, which is investing heavily in the field, and Sean Marett, a top exec at BioNTech.
One of the most interesting startups in the industry has been Centessa, assembled by the startup crew at Medicxi. David Grainger played a big role in that company, and now he’s taken on the task of chief dealmaker as they continue to build up the pipeline. Grainger and Endpoints News publisher Arsalan Arif will be exploring that in a one-on-one session.
And finally, my co-host for this year’s event, Silicon Valley Bank’s Nooman Haque, will be wrapping up with another look at the European biotech finance landscape with 3 top players: Alex Pasteur at F-Prime, Juliette Audet from Forbion and Thomas Burt at Sofinnova. These have been boom times in the global biotech business — how is that playing out in Europe?
It’s a packed program. If you’re into R&D strategy, or you’re growing your own company, I hope you’ll join us on Oct. 12. You can look over the schedule and sign up here — at no cost — by hitting the link.