Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Due to its considerable and growing impact on public health, cardiovascular disease is a crucial focus of our in-house research and development, and has been for decades.
In this field, we are currently No. 2 in Europe. We now have 14 therapeutics available, primarily in high blood pressure, heart failure, and venous diseases. Each day, more than 16 million patients are treated with our medicines around the globe.
At present, we are pursuing the clinical development of molecular entities in heart failure, stroke, and venous disease complications. In addition, we have partnered with Amgen on the final stage of clinical development of omecamtiv mecarbil, an innovative and promising chronic heart failure treatment. Innovative research programs for the treatment of heart failure in all its forms are underway.
In addition, in order to offer therapeutic solutions adapted to patients’ needs and expectations, we created our e-health subsidiary Wehealth by Servier. It will be launching with its partner Bioserenity, a connected t-shirt; Cardioskin, an intelligent garment equipped with sensors. This wearable garment detects heart rhythm disorders without the need for electrode placement or bulky contraptions, and can make recordings over a longer period of time than traditional Holter or EKG methods.
In 2015, there were 415 million people with diabetes (mainly type 2) worldwide, nearly 1 in 11 adults. If no major lifestyle changes or new treatments emerge in the next 10 to 15 years, that number is expected to rise to 642 million people by 2040, representing a 50% increase in just a quarter of a century.
Aware that diabetes is the world’s 7th leading cause of death, but also the primary cause of kidney failure, adult blindness and lower limb amputation; we are treating diabetes and its complications, as one of our priorities. Type 2 diabetes is also one of the major causes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is increasing to such an extent that in the near future it could become the main cause of liver transplant due to its severe complications (cirrhosis and liver cancer).
In addition to our vibrant in-house research, we are working in partnership with biotech companies and world-class academic groups to explore novel modes of action. For example, we have partnered with Intarcia on a subcutaneous implant treatment.
We also take part in the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a partnership between the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry. In particular, we are involved in three programs to foster innovation—DIRECT, IMIDIA, and RHAPSODY—and better understand why diabetes manifests more progressively in some patients than in others. Ultimately, these programs will help to more precisely identify the origin and location of the disease, as well as to design adapted and personalized therapeutic strategies for homogenous patient groups.
The number of patients affected by cancer is steadily on the rise. In 2012, 8.2 million deaths were attributed to this group of diseases, and it is now one of the leading causes of death in developed countries. From now until 2032, the number of new cases per year is expected to double, reaching upwards of 22 million.
In the fight against cancer, researchers are now working to identify physical, chemical and/or biological means to target cancer cells.
Oncology has become a key focus of therapeutic research for our Group and is now a top imperative. Our R&D programs are exploring three tracks: therapies aimed at specific biological processes exacerbated in cancer cells (targeted therapies), the restoration of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells, and mobilizing the immune system (immuno-oncology).
Innovation in oncology also relies on close collaboration between industrial and academic partners involved in the research and development of new anticancer treatments. Servier has entered into numerous partnerships with academic institutions as well as with industrial partners and/or biotechnology companies in France and around the world.
Discovering new drugs to treat neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric pathologies is a major challenge. These disorders are extremely disabling for the patient and have a direct impact on families and loved ones. Unfortunately, available therapies are limited and have little or no influence on disease progression.
To serve our purpose of rapidly making innovative products available to patients and to maximize our expertise, we have chosen to concentrate our research activities on neurodegenerative diseases by targeting protein pathologies, namely neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease which are characterized by the abnormal accumulation of certain proteins.
Our clinical portfolio currently includes four drug candidates in post-stroke functional recovery, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and autism.
We have a range of partnership projects that include assisting academic institutions with industrializing their projects to working with biotech companies to harness expertise complementary to our own. In that respect, we are conducting projects with GeNeuro and Neurochlore in multiple sclerosis (see box) and autism, respectively.
Immune-inflammatory diseases, or simply autoimmune diseases, refer to many conditions that are triggered or characterized by an inadequate immune-system response.
Because of the high frequency of these diseases, their severity and the absence of curative treatments, we are determined by our research efforts in this field to bring real innovations to treat patients. Our research aims to discover innovative medicines for 3 diseases that are very disabling for patients and have a major impact on public health: systemic lupus erythematosus, of which 10% are severe and do not respond to any treatment; Systemic scleroderma, which affects about 30,000 patients in Europe, and Sjögren’s disease, the second most frequent autoimmune disease after rheumatoid arthritis which affects approximately 189,000 patients in Europe.
These pathologies are the subject of intense fundamental clinical research and we have developed partnerships with academic teams and internationally renowned biotech companies to discover and develop new drugs capable of acting on the immune system. For example, research programs are underway in systemic lupus erythematosus with ILTOO Pharma and in Sjögren’s disease with OSE Immunotherapeutics. Other collaborative research programs are at a very early stage, such as the one that links us to the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) and aims to shed more light on the mechanisms of autoimmunity.