Sanofi’s Zerhouni Advocates for Integrated Drug Development Model

Kerri Phillips
February 12th, 2013

At one point comparing the search for new cures to the electronics industry, Elias Zerhouni, MD, Global Head of R&D at Sanofi, painted a picture of an integrated and innovative drug discovery process for attendees of BioForward’s Monthly Breakfast in Madison, Wisconsin on January 22nd.

Former Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the person responsible for the NIH’s “Roadmap for Medical Research,” Zerhouni has been on all sides of the drug discovery process, and he says the current situation is not sustainable. Something has to change in order to improve the current environment, which is marked by skyrocketing healthcare costs and a spectacular drop in productivity with regard to the development and approval of new treatments.

The Current Health EcosystemIn order to improve, Zerhouni suggests that the biotech industry must change the model under which new treatments are developed. This model would incorporate all the players in the health eco-system: patients, universities, technology, biopharma, government, hospitals, and venture capital.

This model coincides with how Forte Research Systems®, Inc. envisions technology’s role in clinical research. In this vision, technologies, such as clinical trial management systems (CTMS), are perfectly positioned to facilitate an integrated approach. Today’s eClinical solutions, like Forte’s OnCore® Enterprise Research system, are available virtually everywhere through web-based platforms, can be integrated to eliminate data silos, and can be designed to support good clinical practice and streamlined workflows.

No longer just a trend, eClinical solutions are becoming the standard for industry leaders such the distinguished institutions recognized through the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). “The question is no longer whether or not they are necessary, but how the technology will continue to evolve to keep pace with the changing landscape,” wrote Srini Kalluri, Founder, CEO and Chief Customer Officer at Forte Research Systems in his recent article, “eClinical for Academic Research Centers is More than a Trend.”

Giving the Apple iPhone as his example, Zerhouni pointed out that the majority of the product is assembled from parts manufactured by other companies. Apple does not make the touch screen, instead the company sources the best touch screen available in the industry, from Sony. Like the iPhone, the biotech industry needs to pull the best performers together in novel ways in order to be successful.

Similarly, the technology supporting an integrated organization, also needs to be able to pull data together from varied sources. Key examples of systems that are integral to clinical research are CTMS and electronic medical records (EMR). There is ample opportunity for information to flow from a CTMS to an EMR to help with both patient safety and patient billing throughout the clinical research process.

Integration between CTMS and EMR systems, “serves to eliminate the need for research staff to re-enter this data into a CTMS and, thereby, helps to eliminate data transcription errors,” says Tony O’Hare, Co-Founder, Vice President, Operations & Chief Collaboration Officer at Forte Research Systems, in his recent article, “CTMS and EMR Software: Why Integration is Necessary.”

It’s in the best interest of society to improve the system, according to Zerhouni. “Biotech is an economic activity of public interest,” he said.

To view Zerhouni’s slides from the event, visit the BioForward website.

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in healthcare, with 7 growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme.

About BioForward

BioForward is the member-driven state association that is the voice of Wisconsin’s bioscience industry and a state chapter of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization.

More from Zerhouni

Following his presentation at the BioForward event, Zerhouni took some time to chat with Wisconsin researcher and blogger for Biotech in Wisconsin, Laura Strong, PhD. In her article on the event, Strong shares some additional insights on the meaning of open innovation and the importance of the network effect for Wisconsin.

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1 Comment

One thought on “Sanofi’s Zerhouni Advocates for Integrated Drug Development Model

  1. Informative and insightful post outlining how the industry’s paradigm has shifted focus to interoperable best in class clinical applications. As a matter of fact, Sanofi just recently undertook an extensive risk-based assessment to replace its three existing, monolithic CTMS platforms in order to accomplish many of the strategic goals mentioned here. One of the requirements was seamless integration of the CTMS with Microsoft Sharepoint and other MS Office applications. At Bioclinica we are proud to be the selected vendor. We truly believe this approach is in best interest of clinical research operational efficiency!

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