One Year Later: Taking Measures to Ensure Scientific Discovery and Innovation Remain on Pace
One year ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and life as we knew it changed. As billions around the world retreated to their homes, we had little way to know what the future held. But we knew one thing for sure: we could not afford to lose ground in clinical research, and we had a responsibility to our patients to forge ahead with our efforts to help change the practice of medicine.
One year later, we remain committed to driving research and development forward, and refuse to allow the pace of innovation to lapse. In spite of the many challenges the pandemic has posed, we have worked to ensure optimal clinical trial performance and the advancement of our portfolio of potential first-in-class or best-in-class medicines, while maintaining key clinical and regulatory milestone timelines.
Our development teams have gone to great lengths to ensure patient safety and keep trials running, arranging direct-to-patient shipments of study drugs, supporting telemedicine follow-ups, and establishing remote investigator meetings and site visits. As a result, we’ve kept 95% of patients enrolled in our nearly 400 clinical trials in 2020 while starting 59 additional trials, enrolling a total of 4,000 new participants. We have also intensified our efforts to incorporate patient insights into everything we do, starting with early research. In response to the heightened focus on health disparities and inequities in 2020, we moved quickly to gain strategic alignment between our R&D, corporate social responsibility, and public affairs and patient advocacy teams, to ensure individual patient voices are contributing to the design of our clinical trials today, and in the future.
Our employees have remained flexible, adapting our ways of working and seamlessly shifting to virtual collaboration to minimize delays or interruptions. We have continued our pursuit of smart partnerships and acquisitions throughout the pandemic, to help us deliver the next generation of life-changing medicines. We have set in motion our digital strategy, and the incorporation of real-world evidence into R&D, to accelerate study timelines and registrational projects. And we continue to build and strengthen our partnerships with health authorities and other stakeholders so that priority programs remain on track. At the end of December 2020, our R&D pipeline contained 84 projects, including 33 new molecular entities in clinical development or regulatory review. Twelve Specialty Care projects in the R&D pipeline had also entered Phase 3.
At Sanofi, our dedication to making a difference in patients’ lives has only strengthened since COVID-19 took hold of our world. Our hearts are with all who have been impacted by the pandemic, and they – and all of humankind – are our motivation for pushing further, faster. We are working tirelessly to ensure progress for cutting edge science and to solidify the future of medicine – together.