Happy hump day, readers.
Another big pharma company is seeking reinvention in the digital era. This time around, it’s Sanofi, the French drug mainstay long known for its insulin and diabetes portfolio – but which has faced mounting pressures in a crowded field choc full of competitors.
Now, Sanofi and Alphabet’s Google are teaming up to use data collection and artificial intelligence in a bid to spur drug development and changes in health care delivery.
“Combining Sanofi’s biologic innovations and scientific data with Google’s industry-leading capabilities, from cloud computing to state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, we aspire to give people more control over their health and accelerate the discovery of new therapies,” said Sanofi chief medical officer and EVP Ameet Nathwani in a statement.
The purpose of the Sanofi/Google partnership is three-fold and will be conducted with the help of a newly established, virtual Innovation Lab (the companies didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal): better understanding diseases, increasing corporate efficiency, and improving patient/customer experience.
In other words: This is every bit as much of an operational streamlining and high-tech marketing effort (for instance, by using Google technology to better design sales forecasts through the use of real-world datasets) as it is a quest to develop new drugs. And Google’s cloud services will play a large part in that quest, as similar technology expands its role across multiple life sciences companies.
Read on for the day’s news.
San Francisco may ban e-cigarette sales altogether. The war on e-cigarettes and vaping appears to continue unabated. The latest salvo: San Francisco may ban all e-cigarette sales in the city, which would make it the first to implement such stringent regulations if approved. “Young people have almost indiscriminate access to a product that shouldn’t even be on the market,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera in a statement. “It’s unfortunately falling to states and localities to step into the breach.” (Fortune)
The vaccine skepticism problem is global. Public health group Wellcome is out with a wide-ranging report finding that some regions of the world have deeply concerning ambivalence, and even antipathy, toward vaccines. While trust in immunizations largely remains high (nearly 80% in the large global survey said they were “safe”), several nations including France and countries across North America and Europe had strikingly low levels of confidence in vaccines. Regions that have reckoned with infectious diseases on a widescale, including Rwanda and Bangladesh, were much more likely to believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines. (Wellcome)
THE BIG PICTURE
Presidential candidates assure you they’ll cure cancer and/or AIDS. Curing cancer is a personal cause for former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden. But Biden’s ambitious promise to become the president who will cure cancer has galvanized some criticism since, well, that’s an enormously difficult task, and cancer is not one but hundreds of different diseases. Some of the nastier attacks on Biden’s quixotic quest have built from that reality (including some mockery from Donald Trump, Jr.). President Trump, for his part, has also sworn to try and cure cancer as well as eradicate HIV/AIDS. Noble goals all around; easier said than done. (CNN)
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