The quest for new treatments has never been more inspiring as scientific advances are amplified by the power of digital technology. For us at Sanofi, accessing the latest innovations that will benefit patients the most also means being connected to the outside world by collaborating with companies of all sizes, including technology start-ups and those who share our ambition of creating solutions for health challenges faced by people worldwide. There are many different ways to tap into the most innovative minds: some of the best ideas are born from partnerships or insights gained from digital technologies, while others are due to the richness that results from diversity.
At this year’s Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention that took place in June in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, innovation and collaboration were at the heart of the exchanges between the more than 16,000 attendees from around the globe. Sanofi participated in talks across digital health, R&D innovation and diversity.
Discover the highlights below and find out more about our expert speakers:
Diversity: A Business Imperative for the Life Sciences Industry
Bill Sibold was part of a roundtable discussion on exploring diversity as a growth strategy by encouraging new ideas and enabling us to be more innovative while connecting better with patients’ and customers’ needs. In short, diversity fuels innovation. According to a recent study by the management consulting firm McKinsey, the most gender balanced companies are 15% more likely to generate financial returns above the industry average and those who are in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to do so.
Sibold emphasized that diversity and inclusion start on the inside and Sanofi aims to achieve equal representation of women and men among our 2,000 top leaders by 2025 and at our Excom level, we are also measured on the degree of inclusion in our business. Change within is also based on a three-pillar strategy that includes a long-term awareness campaign to challenge unconscious bias, building a more inclusive working and work-life environment as well as leadership and mentoring programs to find and mentor our future female leaders.
Beyond our company walls, we also want to make a positive impact in our external environment as gender gaps remain a major barrier impeding social advancement and hampering economic growth. In the healthcare sector especially, we can benefit from a broad mix of backgrounds making it possible to challenge long-established ideas and bring in new perspectives. Sanofi has been at the forefront of initiatives to help recognize and promote the role of women by bringing more women leaders into the healthcare industry to tackle issues such as women’s access to health.
Digital Health in Practice - A Conversation with Ameet Nathwani
Ameet Nathwani explored how advances in digital and information technology are changing the face of healthcare and the impact on the biotechnology industry. He explained how the power of the digital revolution is transforming healthcare: in how we innovate, develop new drugs and understand diseases.
Sanofi’s digital health initiatives focus on three main categories: Drugs +, which combine therapy and technology; standalone digital therapeutics, and tech-enabled virtual healthcare including virtual clinics, telehealth and wearables. He also touched upon the importance of evolving the “Drugs +” concept and engaging with healthcare system stakeholders to make sure solutions can be fully integrated.
Nathwani emphasized that the digital health revolution is here to stay and that it fundamentally benefits both healthcare and the life sciences industry.
The Art & Science of R&D Innovation and Productivity
How do companies of various sizes think about R&D innovation and productivity today – from operating and business models to measurement?
During this discussion, John Reed emphasized the importance of a nimble R&D organization that continuously seeks to prioritize key projects with the greatest potential to address unmet medical needs. He pointed out that there is a constant tension between specific projects and the overall company portfolio. Sometimes, teams push too hard for their target project and sometimes, a project is discontinued too soon; the challenge is to find the right balance.
He concluded by saying that the most critical driver of R&D innovation and productivity is the people: Our job is to ensure that the right R&D talent and skills are allocated to the right project at the right time. For Reed, the success factors for R&D can be summed up in the six T’s: Talent, Technology, Teamwork, Truth-seeking, Timelines, and Tenacity.
BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the US and in more than 30 other nations.