Having already received approvals in the US and Europe, Novartis is currently rolling out the sclerosis drug ofatumumab in what looks like it will be a highly successful year on the market.
Genmab, which originally developed ofatumumab, known today as Kesimpta, now sees the culmination of the potential which the firm saw in the drug, but for a long time, it looked like the potential would not be met. Former owners Glaxosmithkline did not prioritize its sclerosis leg in the ten years it had rights to the drug, even though things started picking up later on.
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In 2015, Genmab partnered with relatively unknown biotech firm Biontech. Reflecting on how far Genmab has come since, CEO Jan van de Winkel is still confident that partnerships, rather than acquisitions, are the way forward. If it had acquired Biontech at the time, the CEO speculates Genmab may have put a stop to other activities – including the Covid-19 vaccine efforts that went on to save millions of lives. This and fairness are worth remembering as biotech firms are increasingly strapped for cash, van de Winkel reflects.