Antonio Loaeza
Country Medical Director
Sanofi Genzyme
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Tailored Treatments Require Tailored Information

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 09/27/2021 - 17:38

Q: What role does Genzyme play as Sanofi’s subsidiary? What makes its work unique?

A: Sanofi Genzyme is the specialty care global business unit of Sanofi, focused on rare diseases, rare blood disorders, neurology, immunology, and oncology. Genzyme was founded 30 years ago to develop treatments for patients with rare diseases that were left unaddressed. These patients are not easy to find. While college students learn about those diseases, in the day-to-day of a medical practice, patients are difficult to identify. One of our greatest responsibilities is to provide continuous education about these diseases because if doctors do not know they exist, they will not diagnose them.

Genzyme created the concept of low prevalence diseases and works together with many global associations of rare diseases. The most relevant stakeholders for us are the patients, who have an increasing opportunity to choose their treatments because globalization, communication, internet, and technology have helped patients inform themselves and empowered them to demand the best treatment.

Q: What is Sanofi Genzyme’s latest innovation?

A: We are launching 10 new treatments in next five years. Recently, Sanofi Genzyme launched in Mexico and worldwide, the first biologic treatment approved for people 12 years and older with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, moderate-to-severe asthma. We are also studying it in a variety of other type 2 inflammatory diseases. This treatment was approved by General Health Council and it will be available in Mexican public health institutions in the near future to benefit those patient who need it more.

In addition, we are investing in the next generation of cancer medicines, focused on four disease areas: multiple myeloma and other blood cancers, skin cancers, lung cancers, and breast cancer and other hormone-positive cancers.  We are launching in 2022 our therapy for multiple myeloma, to help people in Mexico that are suffering for the disease. It is important to highlight that there are cases among Mexican people, 10 years before than in the world.

We have some products in our pipeline, including a treatment for a low prevalence disease called Niemann-Pick types A and B, which is a rare, hereditary disease that affects the body’s ability to metabolize fat within cells. This is another breakthrough in the use of recombinant DNA and Genzyme is researching other biological platforms to continue developing future treatments.

Q: How does Sanofi Genzyme introduce its products to the market?

A: Adaptation is the keyword in this environment. Sanofi Genzyme aims to add value to Mexico’s healthcare system and we have adapted to the different circumstances during the over 92 years that Sanofi has been in the country. We maintain a close relationship with the entire healthcare supply chain, authorities, decision-makers, researchers and manufacturers. Our mission is to continue taking scientific research to Mexican health specialists so they can identify opportunities. Doctors need to know about the innovative potential of new treatments and medicines to prescribe and demand them for their patients. Innovation and continuous medical education are key, especially when dealing with complex action mechanisms at a molecular level.

These treatments are tailor-made, so the information we provide to doctors also has to be tailor-made. Healthcare professionals need to analyze their patients thoroughly because not every patient is receptive to the same drugs, so it is important to identify the best possible solution for each one.

Q: What solutions can big data and analytics offer in the case of rare diseases? 

A: Big data and analytics can be very helpful in this case. We need to gather more information about rare diseases to create a successful big data strategy, such as those used with common diseases like diabetes and obesity, which lead to statistical analyses that governments use to make well-informed decisions.

We should implement this big data and analytics strategy for low prevalence diseases, which are less relevant to public health. Once we gather this information and combine it with real-life evidence, the government could use it to identify opportunities and understand the real value of the treatments. Today, it is not just about efficiency and security with treatments and drugs, it is also about the value they add and the integral solutions they offer thanks to better monitoring opportunities and biomarkers.

Q: How important is it for Mexico to be represented in clinical research trials?

A: It is important for Mexico to be strongly represented in multisite clinical studies. Sanofi Genzyme makes an effort in its research and medical area to ensure that the country is considered for these studies. Along with Brazil, Mexico is the most populated country in Latin America so it also has a higher prevalence of diseases and clinical research. Sanofi Genzyme has participated in virtually every important multisite molecular study in the country.

Q: What role does technology and digitalization play in an innovative company such as Sanofi Genzyme?

A: Technology and AI play a critical role in our company. For instance, augmented reality has been very helpful in continuous education campaigns by allowing simulations of surgeries. Digitalization has also been highly useful. Smartwatches have become commonplace and they are great monitoring devices that help to take care of patients, such as diabetics. Sanofi Genzyme is developing ways to incorporate these products into treatments.

The pandemic has complicated some aspects of life but it has also positively affected others. The popularity of videoconferences allows healthcare specialists to attend numerous conferences and seminars, which would have been impossible before because they are too busy to be traveling around the world all the time. This offers them quality, relevant and concise information, which is valuable for them.

 

Sanofi Genzyme is Sanofi’s global specialty care business unit, focused on rare diseases, rare blood disorders, neurology, immunology and oncology. It helps people with debilitating and complex conditions that are often difficult to diagnose and treat.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst