Roche lays out ac­cess am­bi­tions in its ESG strate­gies, in­clud­ing in­no­va­tion and val­ue goals

Roche laid out its am­bi­tions in the so­cial part of its en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and gov­er­nance (ESG) strat­e­gy on Mon­day cen­tered on ac­cess to its drugs and di­ag­nos­tics.

The Roche in­au­gur­al Ac­cess to Health­care in­vestor call fol­lows a gen­er­al phar­ma in­dus­try trend in ESG. More com­pa­nies are pub­lish­ing re­ports and hold­ing calls to out­line cli­mate, so­ci­etal, di­ver­si­ty, and even pric­ing goals as in­vestors clam­or for de­tails amid surg­ing in­ter­est in ESG com­mit­ments.

RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets pre­dict­ed last year that the phar­ma sec­tor is poised to raise its his­tor­i­cal­ly poor rat­ings in the boom­ing ESG in­vest­ment mar­ket – now more than $820 mil­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment. Covid pan­dem­ic rep­u­ta­tion gains, along with de­clin­ing lit­i­ga­tion, im­prov­ing drug pric­ing ac­count­abil­i­ty and more man­age­ment in­volve­ment in ESG is­sues could con­tribute to a pos­i­tive change, RBC said in a re­port.

On Mon­day, Roche ex­ec­u­tives out­lined its tar­gets – in some cas­es re­it­er­at­ing or up­dat­ing them – while al­so point­ing out what it has ac­com­plished when it comes to ac­cess across its meds and di­ag­nos­tics. That starts with in­no­va­tion across all pa­tient pop­u­la­tions, Bruno Es­chli, Roche’s head of in­vestor re­la­tions, said.

“Ac­cess is not a top­ic spe­cif­ic to just one ge­og­ra­phy, but rather every coun­try whether low-in­come or high-in­come coun­try faces its own spe­cial chal­lenges,” he said.

For up­per-mid­dle and high in­come coun­tries, for in­stance, in­creas­ing health costs, health­care pro­ce­dure back­logs and a lack of health­care work­ers are con­cerns Roche is try­ing to ad­dress, while in low-mid­dle in­come coun­tries it faces chal­lenges such as a lack of health­care in­fra­struc­ture, low aware­ness and di­ag­noses rates, and gen­er­al eco­nom­ic pres­sures.

While the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic wors­ened is­sues for both groups, Roche sees some bright spots. Those in­clude eco­nom­ic growth and a grow­ing mid­dle class in the up­per in­come coun­tries, along with adop­tion of tele­health and cross-coun­try col­lab­o­ra­tions in low­er in­come coun­tries.

Sep­a­rat­ing its di­ag­nos­tic and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal di­vi­sions, Roche’s ex­ec­u­tives re­it­er­at­ed top-lev­el phar­ma goals to dou­ble Roche med­ical ad­vances by 2030 and to dou­ble low- and mid­dle-in­come pa­tient en­roll­ment by 2026, and in di­ag­nos­tics to dou­ble pa­tient ac­cess by 2030.

Along with its ac­com­plish­ments for 2021, Roche list­ed 16.4 mil­lion peo­ple treat­ed with Roche meds, 27 bil­lion Roche di­ag­nos­tic tests con­duct­ed, 80 new mol­e­cules in de­vel­op­ment and a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of 44% women across its man­age­ment teams.

Michael Ober­re­it­er, Roche head of glob­al ac­cess for its phar­ma di­vi­sion not­ed the pan­dem­ic prob­lem and es­pe­cial­ly its im­pact on uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age, which by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s de­f­i­n­i­tion is es­sen­tial qual­i­ty health ser­vices for all with­out cre­at­ing fi­nan­cial hard­ship. To­day, 50% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion lack ac­cess to es­sen­tial health­care, he said, while 100 mil­lion en­ter in­to pover­ty be­cause of out-of-pock­et health care costs.

“We’re quite aware that val­ue re­al­ly lies in the eye of the be­hold­er,” he said. “We do not claim and know we don’t own the de­f­i­n­i­tion. But what we think we do own and where we place our ac­count­abil­i­ty is in the need to raise aware­ness for the dif­fer­ent di­men­sions of val­ue – its so­ci­etal val­ue, HCP val­ue, and pa­tient and care­giv­er val­ue and have a ro­bust di­a­logue with all the stake­hold­ers.”

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)

Up­dat­ed: Hit by an­oth­er PhI­II flop, Sanofi culls breast can­cer drug — sound­ing alarm for the class

Sanofi is officially giving up on its oral SERD.

The French drugmaker put out word Wednesday morning that it will discontinue the global development program of amcenestrant, the selective estrogen receptor degrader once billed as a top late-stage prospect. Having already failed a Phase II monotherapy test earlier this year, a combo with the drug also missed the bar in a second trial for breast cancer, triggering the decision to drop the whole program.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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Marisol Peron, Genmab SVP of communications and corporate affairs

Gen­mab launch­es cor­po­rate cam­paign am­pli­fy­ing its ‘knock your socks off’ an­ti­bod­ies

Genmab often talks about its “knock-your-socks-off” antibodies — and now the term is getting its own logo and corporate campaign.

The teal and purple logo for the acronym KYSO — Genmab pronounces it “ky-so” — debuts on Wednesday and comes on the heels of Genmab’s newly announced 2030 vision. That aspiration aims to expand Genmab’s drug development beyond oncology to include other serious diseases, while also doubling down on its own drug development.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Tom Barnes, Orna Therapeutics CEO

UP­DAT­ED: 'We have failed to fail': Mer­ck gam­bles $250M cash on a next-gen ap­proach to mR­NA — af­ter punt­ing its big al­liance with Mod­er­na

Merck went in deep on its collaboration with Moderna on new mRNA programs, and dropped them all over time, including their RSV partnership. But after writing off what turned out as one of the most successful infectious disease players in the business, Merck is coming in this morning with a new preclinical alliance — this time embracing a biotech that hopes to eventually outdo the famously successful mRNA in a new run at vaccines and therapeutics.

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President Joe Biden signs the Democrats' landmark climate change and health care bill. From L-R: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). (Susan Walsh/AP Images)

Pres­i­dent Biden signs ma­jor drug pric­ing re­forms in­to law: What's com­ing for bio­phar­ma?

President Joe Biden yesterday afternoon signed into law historic, decades-in-the-making new drug pricing reforms as part of a wider reconciliation bill that will likely take a chunk out of biopharma companies’ profits for some blockbusters just prior to generic or biosimilar competition.

The partisan bill (all Democrats in the House and Senate voted for it, and all Republicans voted against it) includes not only Medicare price negotiations — which won’t kick off until 2026, leaving ample time for a legal challenge — but mandatory inflation-related rebates, and a $2,000 annual cap on what seniors’ pay for their prescription drugs.

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What’s in mon­key­pox names? His­to­ry, tra­di­tion­al con­ven­tion and even sit­com sug­ges­tions

The Covid-19 pandemic and rush to vaccines created a stir with a raft of unusual and media-debated names including Moderna’s Spikevax, Pfizer’s Comirnaty and AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria.

Now monkeypox drug names are in the news — although both the leading vaccine Jynneos and the special use treatment Tpoxx have been around for years. Jynneos was approved as protection against smallpox and monkeypox in 2019, while Tpoxx was approved as an antiviral to treat smallpox in 2018.

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