Muzammil Mansuri. Sanofi

Sanofi's strat­e­gy head to re­tire by month end, as com­pa­ny gears up for De­cem­ber strate­gic up­date

While spec­u­la­tion that Sanofi is con­sid­er­ing op­tions for its con­sumer health­care unit erupts ahead of a planned strate­gic up­date next month, it looks like the French drug­mak­er is los­ing a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive in charge of strat­e­gy.

Al­ban de La Sabliere

Muza­m­mil Mansuri, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of strat­e­gy, and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment — and mem­ber of Sanofi’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee — is set to leave the com­pa­ny by the end of No­vem­ber, Reuters re­port­ed on Fri­day, cit­ing an in­ter­nal memo.

A Sanofi spokesper­son con­firmed the de­par­ture.

Mansuri, as planned, has de­cid­ed to re­tire at the end of the month af­ter play­ing a key role in re­shap­ing the com­pa­ny’s strat­e­gy, over­see­ing ac­qui­si­tions and struc­tur­ing part­ner­ships and al­liances, the spokesper­son told End­points News.

Mansuri start­ed out as a re­search sci­en­tist at the en­er­gy com­pa­ny Shell be­fore mov­ing to Bris­tol-My­ers. His last role pri­or to join­ing Sanofi in 2016 was se­nior VP of R&D strat­e­gy and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Gilead Sci­ences.

Al­ban de La Sabliere, cur­rent­ly Sanofi’s head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, and Lau­rent van Ler­berghe, head of strat­e­gy, will ex­pand their roles to take on al­liance man­age­ment, com­pet­i­tive in­tel­li­gence, and Sanofi Ven­tures as well as port­fo­lio an­a­lyt­ics and cor­po­rate strat­e­gy, re­spec­tive­ly, the spokesper­son said.

Lau­rent van Ler­berghe

New­ly crowned chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Hud­son, who took charge of Sanofi on Sep­tem­ber 1, is set to ad­dress in­vestors and of­fer a ‘strate­gic up­date’ for a cap­i­tal mar­kets day in Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts on De­cem­ber 10. In prepa­ra­tion for the event, all of Sanofi’s busi­ness­es are un­der­go­ing a thor­ough re­view.

Hud­son, who suc­ceed­ed Olivi­er Brandi­court, in­her­it­ed a com­pa­ny with a slip­ping stock price, a di­a­betes arm large­ly in de­cline due to US pric­ing pres­sures, and an R&D de­part­ment that lags be­hind its com­pa­tri­ots, par­tic­u­lar­ly af­ter some key hic­cups in on­col­o­gy. In an in­ter­view with a gag­gle of jour­nal­ists last month, he hint­ed that the com­pa­ny is work­ing on jazz­ing up its prospects in can­cer and ex­pand­ing its reach in Chi­na, ex­pect­ing 30 drug launch­es in the re­gion by 2025.

Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos (via Getty Images)

With ad­u­canum­ab caught on a cliff, Bio­gen’s Michel Vounatsos bets bil­lions on an­oth­er high-risk neu­ro play

With its FDA pitch on the Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab hanging perilously close to disaster, Biogen is rolling the dice on a $3.1 billion deal that brings in commercial rights to one of the other spotlight neuro drugs in late-stage development — after it already failed its first Phase III.

The big biotech has turned to Sage Therapeutics for its latest deal, close to a year after the crushing failure of Sage-217, now dubbed zuranolone, in the MOUNTAIN study.

Jason Kelly, Ginkgo Bioworks CEO (Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Af­ter Ko­dak de­ba­cle, US lends $1.1B to a syn­thet­ic bi­ol­o­gy com­pa­ny and their big Covid-19, mR­NA plans

In mid-August, as Kodak’s $765 million government-backed push into drug manufacturing slowly fell apart in national headlines, Ginkgo Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly got a message from his company’s government liaison: HHS wanted to know if they, too, might want a loan.

The government’s decision to lend Kodak three quarters of a billion dollars raised eyebrows because Kodak had never made drugs before. But Ginkgo, while not a manufacturing company, had spent the last decade refining new ways to produce materials inside cells and building automated facilities across Boston.

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Bax­ter con­tin­ues on-shoring push with $50M In­di­ana ex­pan­sion

It’s been a banner year for the once humdrum business of manufacturing drugs, particularly vaccines. Billions have been spent ramping up facilities for Covid-19 jabs, while individual CDMOs have expanded their facilities, apparently anticipating demand or responding to a government-led push to onshore drug manufacturing.

Now Baxter Biopharma Solutions, the CDMO wing of the many-armed healthcare giant Baxter, is getting in on the game. On Tuesday, they announced plans to spend $50 million to expand their flagship, 600,000 square-foot facility in Bloomington, IN.

Pascal Soriot (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: As­traZeneca, Ox­ford on the de­fen­sive as skep­tics dis­miss 70% av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy for Covid-19 vac­cine

On the third straight Monday that the world wakes up to positive vaccine news, AstraZeneca and Oxford are declaring a new Phase III milestone in the fight against the pandemic. Not everyone is convinced they will play a big part, though.

With an average efficacy of 70%, the headline number struck analysts as less impressive than the 95% and 94.5% protection that Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have boasted in the past two weeks, respectively. But the British partners say they have several other bright spots going for their candidate. One of the two dosing regimens tested in Phase III showed a better profile, bringing efficacy up to 90%; the adenovirus vector-based vaccine requires minimal refrigeration, which may mean easier distribution; and AstraZeneca has pledged to sell it at a fraction of the price that the other two vaccine developers are charging.

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Covid-19 roundup: Eu­rope pur­chas­es 80M dos­es of Mod­er­na's vac­cine; CO­V­AXX se­cures $2.8B in emerg­ing mar­ket pre-or­ders

With the announcement of its vaccine efficacy data last week, Moderna is starting to line up customers for its Covid-19 mRNA jabs.

The Massachusetts-based biotech announced Wednesday it has agreed to sell an initial round of 80 million doses to the European Commission, with the option to double the amount to 160 million. Once the member states rubber stamp the approval, the deal will be finalized.

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John Maraganore, Alnylam CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Al­ny­lam gets the green light from the FDA for drug #3 — and CEO John Maraganore is ready to roll

Score another early win at the FDA for Alnylam.

The FDA put out word today that the agency has approved its third drug, lumasiran, for primary hyperoxaluria type 1, better known as PH1. The news comes just 4 days after the European Commission took the lead in offering a green light.

An ultra rare genetic condition, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore says there are only some 1,000 to 1,700 patients in the US and Europe at any particular point. The patients, mostly kids, suffer from an overproduction of oxalate in the liver that spurs the development of kidney stones, right through to end stage kidney disease.

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FDA hands Liq­uidia and Re­vance a CRL and de­fer­ral, re­spec­tive­ly, as Covid-19 cre­ates in­spec­tion chal­lenge

Two biotechs said they got turned away by the FDA on Wednesday, in part due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

North Carolina-based Liquidia Technologies was handed a CRL for its lead pulmonary arterial hypertension drug, citing the need for more CMC data and on-site pre-approval inspections, which the FDA hasn’t been able to conduct due to travel restrictions. The agency also deferred its decision on Revance Therapeutics’ BLA for its frown line treatment, because it needs to inspect the company’s northern California manufacturing facility. The action, Revance emphasized, was not a CRL.

News brief­ing: FDA re­quests new tri­al for Reata's Friedre­ich's atax­ia pro­gram; J&J's Trem­fya picks up ex­pand­ed la­bel in Eu­rope

Three months after Reata Pharmaceuticals suggested its Friedreich’s ataxia program omaveloxolone could be delayed, the company revealed that is indeed going to be the case.

Reata $RETA shares took a nosedive Wednesday after the biotech revealed that the FDA said supplemental data for its pivotal trial did not strengthen the case for approval. As a result, the drug is likely to need another study before the FDA takes up the case.

Jef­frey Hat­field takes over from Diego Mi­ralles as CEO of Vi­vid­ion; Drag­on­fly scores a new ex­ec with COO Alex Lu­gov­skoy

→ San Diego protein degradation startup Vividion Therapeutics has made a change at the top with Jeffrey Hatfield taking the helm as CEO, replacing Diego Miralles six months after Roche forked over $135 million to collaborate with Vividion on their small molecule degraders. Hatfield is chairman of the board at miRagen Therapeutics and previously held the CEO job at Zafgen and Vitae Pharmaceuticals. He also had a series of leadership roles at Bristol Myers Squibb from 1996-2004, including SVP, immunology and virology divisions.