Pierre Fabre has a new partnership for its Open Innovation programme based on an extensive plant library. It will now count with VibioSphen to develop new phyto-chemicals to fight infectious diseases.

pierre_fabre_vibiosphen_open_innovationPierre Fabre is the 3rd largest Pharma in France, employing over 10,000 people and generating revenues of over €2Bn.

Lately, this mid-sized company made efforts to open up its innovation process, from new partnerships overseas to opening a Fund for Innovation targeting smaller Biotechs.

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Now, another Pierre Fabre’s innovation strategy is advancing with its second partnership (after Plasticell). The programme is the ‘Nature Open Library‘ and was launched in December. It intends to explore its 15,000-sample library of plants and phytochemical compounds (chemicals produced by plants).

Libraries like this are important assets, such as MorphoSys’ antibody library or Pronutria’s food proteome library.

pierre_fabre_nature_open_library

The process for partnerships under the ‘Nature Open Library’, and the library of plants, incuding seeds and extracts. (Source: Nature Open Library by Pierre Fabre)

The Biotech involved in this new partnership is VibioSphen, which is based near Toulouse and develops models of several infectious diseases to test potential treatments in pre-clinical development.

VibioSphen will screen the plant library, and try to identify new natural molecules which could be tested afterwards on its models of infectious diseases.

As it is an Open Innovation initiative, only if this screening phase is carried out successfully will then Pierre Fabre become the preferred partner for the further development of identified molecules.

vibiosphen_fontanie_pierre_fabre_phytochemical_infectious

The team of VibioSphen (Source: VibioSphen)

Laurent Audoly, R&D Director, said this new partnership confirms the interest in the initiative, and will hopefully bring a new dynamic in the Toulouse region. We have interviewed Audoly just last month, about the reshaping of innovation culture inside Pierre Fabre.

Initiatives of Open Innovation are rising, as Big Pharma has been struggling with its low R&D productivity – and Biotech could be facing the same challenges.

For example, BioMed X created a crowdsourcing platform in Heidelberg (Germany), where appealing projects are then developed with funds from Pharma. And academia-industry collaborations are also becoming more and more popular.

This is a good example of the opening up of a previously conservative Pharma – we look forward to what VibioSphen can achieve for the field of Infectious Disease with this new resource.


An explanation of the ‘Nature Open Libray’ initiative:


Featured image credit: Bacteria © darnellvfx (BigStock ID95936621)
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