BHH Summit Sponsor’s Interview: Sanofi

Ángel Alonso is the current Head of Digital and Innovation for IBERIA at Sanofi in a great moment where Digital is one of the top 5 priorities of the Group.

Good morning, I am delighted to interview you as a Sponsor of our upcoming event the Barcelona Health Hub Summit. Could you briefly explain what Sanofi does and what is your role at Sanofi?

Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.
With more than 100.000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe. My role at Sanofi is Head of Digital and Innovation for IBERIA in a great moment where Digital is one of the top 5 priorities of the Group.

What has been Sanofi’s experience working in the digital health sector?

Sanofi’s global digital strategy is focused in 4 main areas. First, Digital Enterprise by adopting a holistic approach, centered around the transformation of our digital initiatives in Research, Development, data generation, including Real World Evidence and Lifecycle Management, the Customer Engagement Model and Operations and Business Support. Second, Digital HEALTH, unlocking new value through Digital Health, including the Acceleration of the Drugs+ initiative, Digital Therapeutics (DTx): drug-independent treatments and the scale-up of Virtual Health Care Provision efforts. Third, Digital ENABLERS deploying the governance and oversight of our strategy, accelerating our innovation hubs, and strengthening of our digital workforce through development and learning programs. And last, Digital ENGINE by developing an integrated end-to-end strategy where we fast-track the creation of a core engine, which will form our digital backbone, enabling end-to-end transformation at scale

On your website, you portray Sanofi as a company willing to transform your I+D+i in patient’s health solutions. How is Sanofi keeping up with innovation and new technologies in current times? Can you tell us about a developing digital health project?

One of the first steps towards keeping up with innovation is knowing and understanding the external factors that are influencing health and care in general. Following that, it’s critical that the applicability of the external landscape to current and future business model is made. We have hence identified the skills, capabilities and type of resources needed to do that. For e.g. the DTx team comprises of a team that has been working on Digital Health solutions.
External partnerships like Digital Therapeutic Alliance, Barcelona Health Hub, Galen Growth Asia, eyeforpharma etc act as an essential source of information and help give an overview of regional and local landscapes on advancements in technologies and companies that operated in this space.

Last but not the least, it’s important to open our doors to Small, Medium and Large health tech organizations to give ourselves and them an opportunity to co-create solutions by identifying unmet needs within the healthcare system.

What are your predictions for the future of the health sector?

We have an aging population all around the world, and the solutions we are building today are primarily for ourselves not necessarily for the elder generations. We expect clearer and tighter regulation on how technology can be used as a therapeutic solution and this will be based on factual insights that are generated from calibrated & ‘Trusted’ data.

As medicine gets more specialized and personalized, we do expect patients to have better visibility to take control of their health, this will ensure we have a healthy society.

Sanofi works within a range of different specialties, is there one specific specialty for which you predict a more exciting, larger transformation due to the application of technology and innovation? If so, which specialty and why?

It will be hard to comment on this as our focus and prioritization are geared towards ensuring that we are able to be reducing the burden of the healthcare system and evolve the practice of medicine. We chose focus areas based on such opportunities that are at hand.

You must have seen our recent partnerships with Happify, where we are trying to provide solutions for patients with Multiple Sclerosis that go through depression and other negative impacts of the disease. This is one of many examples of how and where we are prioritizing our efforts.

Are you collaborating with innovative companies and startups?

At Sanofi, we all know that startups are becoming one of the most innovative stakeholders in the Healthcare industry. Since 2015 at Sanofi Spain we are developing a program together with start ups called Health-U. The Program consist in launching a series of challenges linked to Sanofi’s core business with the objective to look for quick, disruptive, technology-based solutions we can learn and benefit from. We invest our time and resources to work with an average of 6 startups and, after a period, a jury composed by Sanofi members and different relevant people from the Healthcare community, they choose the winning project.

The winning startup receive a monetary prize which is extremely welcomed by the startups to keep on investing and boosting their innovation and performance.
For a large corporation it’s very fulfilling to work closely with entrepreneurs and new ways of working as we find in the startup values.

In your opinion, what are the main benefits of being an associate of Barcelona Health Hub?

Sanofi is a very innovative group and our interest is to be very close to the key stakeholders that can support us with innovation. We want to be present where things are happening. Barcelona is a great digital and innovation hub, and BHH is the perfect match with the health ecosystem. At BHH we can find a full spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship such as startups, VC’s, and the key health stakeholders like Hospital de Sant Pau, doctors, KOLs, students from the university and other corporates.

We have plenty of projects and ideas that can be developed and co-worked in BHH from different therapeutical areas and departments of Sanofi. We are completely sure that we will bring lots of best practices.

What are you excited about regarding the BHHSummit on the 3rd October?

BHH Summit claims to be an event to “Accelerate Transformation in Digital Health”. Every single word has a very powerful meaning in today’s healthcare trends. The essence of the BHH Summit is perfectly aligned with Sanofi’s Digital strategy objectives.

We want to be an active participant of the summit in this unmistakable place and learn from the top speakers talking about entrepreneurship, Solutions in Healthcare, how pharma companies are embracing technology to empower patients, healthcare anywhere and any time and a lot more trending topic subjects that are happening right now.

Thank you for your time.