R&D for unmet needs

Acting for the most vulnerable communities

As part of our R&D strategy to support those most in need, we develop vaccines and medicines to eradicate polio, eliminate sleeping sickness and reduce childhood cancer deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities around the world, which have driven us to deepen our commitment to society.

As part of our social impact strategy we are reinforcing our R&D innovation to help vulnerable communities.

  • Polio: One of our key priorities is to help eradicate polio. Sanofi has partnered with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) for almost 30 years and has provided UNICEF with polio vaccines at preferential prices through GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which aims to vaccinate populations in 73 of the poorest countries, to eradicate the disease.
  • Sleeping sickness is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that affects the poorest populations living in sub-Saharan Africa. For years, we have partnered with DNDi to develop and provide innovative drugs to ensure patients living in the most remote areas have access to treatment. We are also collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to donate drugs and provide financial support to programs in the field.
  • Childhood cancer: A child living in a low- and middle-income country is four times more likely to die from childhood cancer compared to a child raised in a high-income country. To combat this inequality, we will develop innovative medicines with the ambition to ultimately eliminate cancer deaths in children.

Fighting sleeping sickness

Human African trypanosomiasis—also known as sleeping sickness—is a vector-borne, parasitic disease found in sub-Saharan Africa, where 65 million people are at risk of contracting this potentially fatal disease. Since 2009, Sanofi and DNDi have developed new innovative oral medicines to simplify both access and treatment, to avoid hospitalizations and save lives.

Partnership with the WHO

For 20 years, Sanofi and the WHO have partnered to combat NTDs, and in particular sleeping sickness, providing drug donations and financial support to ensure capacity building and patient screening. These continuous efforts and our long-term contribution have led to the recent announcement of the successful elimination of sleeping sickness as a public health issue in Togo in August 2020, and recently in Côte d’Ivoire in March 2021. Our partnership was renewed in 2020 for five more years to work towards the elimination of the disease by 2030.

Find out more about: A two decades long fight against NTDs

  1. 20
    Years of partnership with WHO
  2. $100 million
    Financial support from Sanofi
  3. -97%
    Of sleeping sickness cases between 2001 and 2019

Ending the neglect of sleeping sickness: the last mile challenge

At the beginning of 2020, fexinidazole, the first all-oral treatment for sleeping sickness, was rolled out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The journey to ensure the treatment made it from the laboratory to patients has been a long one, and is testament to strong partnerships and the power of innovation in fighting NTDs.

The fight to eradicate polio

Just over 30 years ago, poliomyelitis was a global scourge in more than 120 countries, commonly causing paralysis for children, and fear for their families and entire communities. Today, polio is a disease that we rarely see, thanks to strong global public health coordination focused on vaccination.

In 1988, the GPEI was launched by stakeholders involved in global public health and led by the WHO. At that time, polio was endemic in 125 countries with more than 350,000 children paralyzed for life each year. Since then, thanks to strong collaborations across the GPEI, paralytic polio cases have decreased by over 99% and only two countries still see endemic wild poliovirus transmission.

By manufacturing oral polio vaccines (OPV), inactivated polio vaccines (IPV) and pediatric combination shots, we have been involved in the fight against polio from the beginning and continue to serve a critical role in the delivery of vaccines against this disease.

In recent years, the disease has resurged in several parts of the world due to socio-economic and public health crises that have inhibited optimal access to all necessary vaccines. More recently, many routine vaccination programs have been halted or disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, putting young children at risk of once again catching polio.

Find out more about: Driving polio out of sight, but never out of mind

Supporting global public health collaborations to eradicate polio

In 2020, Sanofi delivered worldwide:

  1. 372 million
    Doses of OPV including 345 million doses to UNICEF
  2. 115 million
    Doses of IPV including 66 million doses to UNICEF
  3. 10
    Additional combination vaccines containing IPV distributed worldwide to help prevent up to six childhood diseases

Polio: unsung heroes in Pakistan

Local heroes in Pakistan are ensuring that children have the best possible access to polio vaccination, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.