How the Biotech Industry Has Changed During My Career – Eric Leire

Dr. Eric Leire, MD, MBA is the CEO and Founder of GenFlow Biosciences. He has an impressive background in biotechnology and gene therapy sector. Furthermore, Eric has a plethora of impressive experience both in the pharmaceutical industry, having held posts at Pfizer, Schering Plough and Pharmacia. He also has found success in academic research, having held research position at Harvard University.

In addition, his career has soared throughout the biotechnology industry, being the CEO of several private and public biotech companies. He is also the inventor of several patents and serves on the board of several biotechnology companies, such as Pherecydes (ALPHE.PA), Immunethep, Inhatarget and BSIM.  Academically, Eric holds an MD from Grenoble University and an MBA from HEC, Paris and Kellogg, Northwestern University.

With biotech becoming somewhat of a buzzword across financial circles, technical experts such as Eric are becoming primordial to strong, health and business decisions across the globe. Readers need accurate, concise information to decipher what the science is truly getting at and how to get their head around difficult concepts. As a starter for ten, Biotechnology generally comprises of companies producing medicines from living organisms. 

In recent years, biotechnology start-ups have sprouted alongside computer technology companies in Silicon Valley. The aim of most is to use biotechnology processes to create breakthrough drugs. According to some experts’ projections, by 2026, medical biotechnology alone will hit $500 billion.

However, for someone who has had such an illustrious, lengthy career in this sector; we wanted to know how the industry has changed over the preceding years. 

Eric points towards the emergence of Cell and Gene therapies (CGTs). Currently, the most common therapeutic agents remain small molecules.  Generally, small molecules drugs only treated the symptoms rather than the cause of the disease. In contrast, gene therapies are by nature aimed at the cause of the disease. This mostly explains why CGTs have recently revolutionized the way we are treating severe diseases such as cancers. 

Today, we witness an ever-increasing number of CGTs tested in clinical trials with more than 800 ongoing clinical trials of CGTs.  CGTs account now for more than 18 % of the research pipeline of the pharmaceutical industry.  However, in our way to benefit from the next wave of innovation which  CGTs will provide we are also facing new development challenges.   To name a few, CGT companies, such as Genflow Biosciences will have to tackle new immunogenicity problems, to further lower the costs of manufacturing and to innovate with new patient-friendly mode of delivery.  

Furthermore, the supply chains that support the manufacturing and delivery of CGTs are longer, much more complex, and highly controlled. CGT companies will have to seek earlier interactions with the regulatory agencies to address and mitigate unusual regulatory issues. CGT companies will also have to negotiate with regulatory agencies new ways to conceive clinical programs as healthy volunteers should be excluded in most gene therapy trials. Furthermore, conducting human clinical trials with CGTs require much planning not only limited to logistic issues.  For example, the design of a CGT clinical trial should take into consideration the novel biostatistical challenges associated with smaller sample sizes, the new definition of inclusion/exclusion criteria for patients and the identification of relevant biomarkers. 

With leadership in genetic of aging and recombinant AAV gene delivery, the support of a top-tier scientific advisory team that coordinates its pre- and clinical strategies Genflow Biosciences is well-positioned to a successful SIRT6 gene therapy development.   

 

One thing is certain; Biotechnology is being heavily prioritised by Governments across the world. With a renewed relevance of these firms, GenFlow is well placed to be a stalwart in this sector.

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