Pascal Soriot, Getty

Pas­cal So­ri­ot and As­traZeneca com­mit to ze­ro-car­bon by 2025, car­bon-neu­tral by 2030. Where's the rest of Phar­ma?

Pas­cal So­ri­ot has spent more than 20 years at the top of an in­dus­try re­cent­ly found to emit more car­bon than the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

He called him­self a “glob­al cit­i­zen,” and trav­eled of­ten across three-plus con­ti­nents. While CEO of As­traZeneca, he com­mis­sioned a flight ser­vice — me­dia-dubbed As­traZeneca air­lines — from Cam­bridge to the com­pa­ny’s oth­er Eu­ro­pean hub in Gothen­burg. He made few, if any, pub­lic state­ments on the en­vi­ron­ment or his com­pa­nies’ im­pact on it.

Now, Pas­cal So­ri­ot has had a change of heart.

As­traZeneca yes­ter­day an­nounced a $1 bil­lion plan to elim­i­nate emis­sions by 2025 and to, by 2030, make their en­tire sup­ply chain car­bon-neg­a­tive. So­ri­ot said think­ing about his grand­kids con­vinced him to push the com­pa­ny to­wards sus­tain­abil­i­ty.

“I have chil­dren and I have a grand­son, and they’re go­ing to look at me and say, ‘what did you do?'” So­ri­ot told Bloomberg News from Davos, Switzer­land where the an­nu­al World Eco­nom­ic Fo­rum meet­ing is un­der­way. This year has been heav­i­ly fo­cused on cli­mate change.

As­traZeneca is not the first Big Phar­ma com­pa­ny to make such a com­mit­ment, al­though the in­dus­try as a whole has been slow to adopt such pledges. Take­da told a JP Mor­gan crowd last week that they were aim­ing to be car­bon-neu­tral in 2020. No­vo Nordisk said in April they were on track to use on­ly re­new­ables in 2020. No­var­tis al­so has a car­bon-neu­tral-by-2025 plan, al­though it doesn’t in­clude their sup­ply chain.

No­tably, none of the eight largest US phar­ma com­pa­nies — J&J, Pfiz­er, Mer­ck, Ab­b­Vie, Ab­bott Lab­o­ra­to­ries, Eli Lil­ly, Am­gen and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb — have made sim­i­lar com­mit­ments, al­though al­most every­one has a ded­i­cat­ed por­tion of their web­site in which they “rec­og­nize,” “be­lieve,” or “un­der­stand,” the risks posed by cli­mate change and their re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to mit­i­gate that risk.

Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb’s com­mit­ment is to a 5% re­duc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions by 2020. Mer­ck, one of the more com­mit­ted phar­ma com­pa­nies, has promised to make all “ex­ter­nal” elec­tric­i­ty re­new­able, but not un­til 2040. Eli Lil­ly — far and away the worst emit­ter of any phar­ma com­pa­ny as of 2015, ac­cord­ing to the pa­per cit­ed at the top of the ar­ti­cle, ac­count­ing for near­ly 4-times the emis­sions of As­traZeneca — said they would make a 20% re­duc­tion by 2020. Through 2017, they were 8.4% of the way there. A fur­ther up­date promised for June of last year, could not be im­me­di­ate­ly found on their web­site.

As­traZeneca will make them­selves car­bon-neu­tral by con­vert­ing to all re­new­ables for heat and pow­er and by switch­ing over their ve­hi­cles to elec­tric cars, both with­in 5 years. They will al­so be­gin plant­i­ng the “AZ For­est” — a 50-mil­lion tree re­for­esta­tion ef­fort, first in Aus­tralia and then in France, In­done­sia and else­where.

They will al­so un­veil a new gen­er­a­tion of me­tered-dose in­halers. These com­mon forms of in­halers tra­di­tion­al­ly re­lease hy­dro­flu­o­roalka­ne, a high­ly po­tent green­house gas.

So­ri­ot told Bloomberg that, on top of his own con­scious­ness, em­ploy­ees had asked for the com­pa­ny to make a sweep­ing com­mit­ment. But he said one group hadn’t, and it’s part of the rea­son oth­er com­pa­nies have yet to elim­i­nate emis­sions: Share­hold­ers.

“The pres­sure is not – I be­lieve not – yet strong enough, to be frank,” So­ri­ot said. “Com­pa­nies will have to be in­cen­tivized to do some­thing.”

Op­ti­miz­ing Cell and Gene Ther­a­py De­vel­op­ment and Pro­duc­tion: How Tech­nol­o­gy Providers Like Corn­ing Life Sci­ences are Spurring In­no­va­tion

Remarkable advances in cell and gene therapy over the last decade offer unprecedented therapeutic promise and bring new hope for many patients facing diseases once thought incurable. However, for cell and gene therapies to reach their full potential, researchers, manufacturers, life science companies, and academics will need to work together to solve the significant challenges facing the industry.

Amid mon­key­pox fears, biotechs spring to ac­tion; Mod­er­na’s CFO trou­ble; Cuts, cuts every­where; Craft­ing the right pro­teins; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

It’s always a bittersweet moment saying goodbye, but as Josh Sullivan goes off to new adventures we are grateful for the way he’s built up the Endpoints Manufacturing section — which the rest of the team will now carry forward. If you’re not already, this may be a good time to sign up for your weekly dose of drug manufacturing news. Thank you for reading and wish you a restful weekend.

Bay­er sounds re­treat from a $670 mil­lion CAR-T pact in the wake of a pa­tient death

Two months after Atara Biotherapeutics hit the hold button on its lead CAR-T 2.0 therapy following a patient death, putting the company under the watchful eye of the FDA, its Big Pharma partners at Bayer are bowing out of a $670 million global alliance. And the move is forcing a revamp of Atara’s pipeline plans, even as research execs vow to continue work on the two drugs allied with Bayer 18 months ago, which delivered a $60 million cash upfront.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 142,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Try­ing to shake up the Parkin­son's par­a­digm, Ab­b­Vie sub­mits NDA for con­tin­u­ous, 24-hour in­fu­sion ther­a­py

AbbVie is approaching the FDA with a new therapy to potentially treat Parkinson’s disease, using prodrugs of two medications commonly used for the condition.

The Big Pharma submitted its NDA for ABBV-951, a solution of levodopa and carbidopa prodrugs being evaluated in advanced Parkinson’s patients who don’t respond well to oral therapy, AbbVie announced Friday morning. Researchers are hoping a positive Phase III study that reads out in late October will help move things along quickly at the agency.

Sanofi and Re­gen­eron clear the fin­ish line in an in­flam­ma­to­ry esoph­a­gus dis­ease, leav­ing Take­da in the dust

With atopic dermatitis rivals breathing down Dupixent’s neck, Sanofi and Regeneron on Friday secured a first win in new territory in what Sanofi’s head of immunology and inflammation Naimish Patel called the fastest approval he’s ever seen.

The FDA approved Dupixent on Friday to treat patients 12 years and older with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an inflammatory condition that causes swelling and scarring of the esophagus. The approval came just a couple months after regulators granted Dupixent priority review, and months ahead of its PDUFA date on Aug. 3.

Fu­ji­film con­tin­ues its biotech build­ing spree with new fa­cil­i­ty in Chi­na

A Japanese conglomerate is making a big play in China with the opening of a new facility, as it continues to expand.

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific has opened its new Innovation and Collaboration Center in Suzhou New District, China, an area in Jiangsu province specifically designated for technological and industrial development.

According to Fujifilm, the 12,000-square-foot site will be responsible for the company’s cell culture media optimization, analysis and design services. Cell culture media itself often requires customization of formulas and protocols to achieve the desired quantity and quality of therapeutic desired. Fujifilm Irvine Scientific is offering these services from its headquarters in California and Japan to its customers globally, as well as in China now.

Emer Cooke, EMA director (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Ahead of FDA, EMA rec­om­mends au­tho­riz­ing new gene ther­a­py treat­ment for ul­tra-rare dis­ease

Aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency is an ultra-rare genetic disease that leaves patients unable to produce certain hormones in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, usually leading to developmental delays, weak muscle tone and inability to control the movement of the limbs. It can also lead to multiple organ failure.

To date, there have been no treatments approved for AADC deficiency, which has been identified in less than 150 patients.

Ather­sys tries to post-hoc-an­a­lyze its way out of an­oth­er tri­al fail for stroke stem cell ther­a­py

Athersys’ stem cell therapy has failed yet again.

In a 206-person trial conducted in Japan, Athersys’ stem cell therapy for stroke failed its primary endpoint of “excellent outcome,” a combined measure of three stroke recovery scores.

While a greater percentage of patients in the treatment group reached the primary endpoint compared to placebo, that difference was not statistically significant.

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Brian Ach/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

All Blue's $733M bid to ac­quire Zymeworks turns hos­tile as board bat­tles back — af­ter a biotech celebri­ty jumps in

Yesterday, the team at All Blue Capital — bent on the takeover of a badly battered Zymeworks — brought in celebrated oncologist, Pulitzer prize-winning writer and biotech exec Siddhartha Mukherjee to add some glitz to their proposed board. But they’re still not winning over any converts.

This morning, Zymeworks’ board officially turned this acquisition offer into a hostile showdown, rejecting the unsolicited offer and marshaling its forces to prevent a buyout at $10.50 per share.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 142,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.