Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) is searching for an edge. Like other big pharmas, the company is undergoing a push to shift the balance between its internal and external research and development and is increasingly looking outside its own walls for breakthrough ideas.
At the BIO International Convention in Chicago at the start of May, the Paris-Based pharmaceutical company announced it had joined the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s Corporate Consortium Program. The Center, a quasi-public agency, is charged with implementing a ten-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative for the state. Under the agreement, Sanofi is paying $500,000 for a two-year, non-voting membership. The funds will be used in the center’s Accelerator Program, which makes loans to early-stage Massachusetts life sciences companies performing translational science and research. What Sanofi gets in return is an early peek at these promising companies and their technologies.
We spoke [podcast] to Paul Chew, U.S. chief medical officer for Sanofi, about the agreement, changes to the company’s R&D structure, and why Big Pharma is increasingly looking beyond its own walls for innovation.