Sanofi to Seek More Venture-Capital Deals Like Warp Drive

Sanofi, France’s biggest drugmaker, is seeking more deals with venture-capital funds like its partnership with biotechnology company Warp Drive Bio, Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher said.

Sanofi teamed with venture-capital firms Third Rock Ventures and Greylock Partners last year to finance Warp Drive Bio, which is using genomic technology to develop new treatments. The Paris-based drugmaker has recruited someone to look at venture-capital projects, though Viehbacher declined to identify the person.

“The Warp Drive model where we are doing in-kind contributions for equity, where our researchers are directly involved in the project, that’s to me more where we want to go,” Viehbacher said in an interview in Lyon, France. “I don’t want to have a portfolio of assets over here and then research and development projects over there.”

Sanofi is also interested in partnerships that involve using mobile technology to keep patients connected with health-care providers. The drugmaker is working with another company on implantable blood-sugar meters for diabetics, though he declined to identify the company.

“The marrying of digital technologies with therapeutics is a whole interesting area,” Viehbacher said. “You have to have space within a company where you can contemplate some of these things. You have to go beyond the pill.”