Argentina, Buenos Aires.- “The pandemic affected us in terms of other diseases in two ways; a negative one, because many illnesses delayed diagnoses, you could not go to hospitals, the medical staff was very focused on Covid and so were the resources. But on the other hand, the pandemic brought a positive side to health treatment and that was to highlight its importance. In general, we were more aware than ever as people, as institutions, as companies, about how important self-care is, the prevention of certain diseases, and having a health that is as protected as possible against future pandemics,” said Dora Cano, president of the pharmaceutical division Bayer for Mexico.

Bayer’s Farma Latam 2021 is currently taking place in Argentina and the president of the pharmaceutical division of this company for Latin America and Brazil, Adib Jacob, said in his inaugural message that it is such a critical area that, although governments, doctors and society in general, changed their focus a lot after the pandemic, this sector remains resilient in the face of adversity, “because the issue of health is very important, they are areas that cannot be stopped. Due to this factor, we managed to have two very positive years with many scientific research projects.”

In this regard, they shared that the next therapeutic options will be destined mainly in the areas of oncology, cardiorenal, hemophilia, ophthalmology, pneumology and contraception. This pharmaceutical company, with 125 years of history in Latin America and presence in 25 countries, will launch 36 new products throughout the region.

Cano assures in an interview that from the company’s point of view, innovation is the key, “investing in innovation and development clearly allows us to improve and lengthen people’s lives, but once the innovation has occurred, another phase follows which is access, and perhaps that is where the biggest difference exists that we have in Latin America compared to other regions, especially European ones”.

He said that we are making progress, both the industry and the health systems, governments, public and private payers, all are aware that “we have to make a greater effort”, for this reason he explains that they constantly sit down with them to find out what those points are meeting, “for us, innovating without reaching the patient does not make sense, bringing a drug with a high cost, that does not generate value and that implies a loss of value in the health system does not make sense either, because only if the health is strong, more medicines and innovation will come in the future. What we are looking for is balance and that every time we bring something it adds value to the patient, but also to society and the country in general.”

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Innovative health resources

In this meeting, examples of diseases that are changing their panorama of survival were given:

Prostate cancer

It is the most relevant cancer in men worldwide, apart from non-melanoma skin cancer. The biologic Darolutamide has been shown in studies to prolong survival while preserving quality of life. The Aramis 2020, 2021 study demonstrated 22 months of survival without metastasis and decreased the risk of death by 31%, in the Aransens 2022 study a 32% reduction in death in 4 years and 26% more probability of survival than with other indications .

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D)

It is a very prevalent disease throughout the world, since diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure, CKD affects two out of every five patients with T2D. Until now we had more than 20 years without medication with evidence for specific treatment in these patients. Today, Firenenone has been shown to reduce renal and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The Fidelio-DRC 2020, Figaro-DCV 2021 and Fidelity 2021 studies are the evidence, the latter demonstrating a 23% decrease in DRC progression and 14% in cardiovascular events.

Heart failure (HF)

This is the number 1 reason for hospitalization in patients over the age of 65 worldwide. A person is hospitalized for HF every 8 minutes. With current data, 55% of patients are rehospitalized within 30 days of a worsening event and 1 in 5 patients will die within 1 year of a worsening event and 50% will die within 5 years after diagnosis.

In this sense, the Victoria study evaluated the effectiveness of Vericiguat compared to placebo in the context of contemporary therapies for heart failure. Vericiguat significantly reduced the annualized absolute risk for hospitalization or death by 4.2%

Other areas of attention are menopause, thrombosis and embolism.

New releases in Mexico

Dora Cano says that this year five new treatments will be arriving in Mexico, two of them have already been approved by Cofepris and patients will be able to access them in the coming weeks or months. Darolutamide, for the treatment of non-metastatic prostate and Alfadamoctocogue pegol, recombinant antihemophilic factor, one of the most powerful on the market and which reduces the number of infusions required for prophylactic treatment.

Also for the second half of this year, since they are in the last phase of the regulatory authority, Finerenona will arrive, for the treatment of renal failure in patients with diabetes, Vericiguat, for heart failure and Larotrectinib, “a product that particularly makes us feel proud of the innovation because it is a product for cancer that is not intended for a specific tumor but for a mutation or fusion in a specific gene, that is, it can act on 20 to 25 different cancers with this gene”.

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Cano assures that they have been at Bayer for more than 100 years and in that period things change all the time, that is why his role and work is to be there to help and collaborate so that whatever the regulation, Mexicans can receive their treatments.

“We fully trust the regulatory authorities (Cofepris), in the criteria and the process that in this case in Mexico is fulfilled, we work through the Pharmaceutical Chamber to ensure that the times are the best and that all this delay that has affected all processes due to the pandemic, can be updated and accelerated.”

The future of health, the day after tomorrow

For the innovation market, Bayer allocated 5.3 billion euros in research and development in 2021, today this company has 43 products in phases I, II, III of development, this with internal research, through alliances with other companies or with the acquisition of cutting-edge businesses. They have more than 7,400 scientists in 13 parts of the world, including Mexico.

“Our commitment is from research to ways to expand access to treatment,” said Eli Lakryc, vice president and head of medical affairs for Bayer’s pharmaceutical division in Latin America and Brazil.

For his part, Adib Jacob expressed that when asked where the vanguard of medical science is and where it is going, gene and cell therapy will be the immediate future. ”As were the biologicals in 2000, immuno-oncology in the last decade, the pharmaceutical companies have a very clear strategy to build a very consolidated ecosystem in solutions of this nature in America, for example for diseases such as Parkinson’s, we hope that in the end of the decade, to have the first products that change the course of diseases and even look for cures”.

Daniel Londero, president of Bayer’s pharmaceutical division for the Southern Cone, adds that these therapies are going to impact the second half of this decade, and “we are already discussing with other companies that will also bring innovation, financiers. We are starting all this discussion because to bring this technology you need a new regulatory framework, we are talking about transporting cells that will be modified and a different financing and logistics mechanisms are needed”.

“This is not science fiction and it is not just in the laboratory, Bayer is already preparing for this future,” said Eli Lakryc, which is why they bought some companies such as BlueRock, AskBio, Vividion, and made alliances with Atara Bio and Mammoth Biosciences.

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