Roche’s partnering priority

Why Roche’s new combined partnering team will likely focus first on near-term growth drivers

As James Sabry gets set to lead partnering for all of Roche pharma, his first order of business might be to build out the company’s late-stage pipeline ahead of an impending patent cliff that puts nearly half its revenues at risk.

Sabry has served as head of partnering for Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED) since 2010, a role that has focused on deals for early stage products and technologies for Roche’s Genentech Inc. unit.

On August 1, he will add to his portfolio partnering of late-stage compounds by Roche’s Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) group, as he assumes the newly created role of global head of partnering. He will also join Roche’s corporate executive committee.

The move sees Sabry fill the shoes of current Head of Roche Partnering Sophie Kornowski who held that role since 2012, and is leaving the pharma on July 31 to join healthcare investor Gurnet Point Capital as a senior partner. Gurnet is led by former Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher.

It also represents a strategic shift for the pharma, which has kept the business development and research activities of pRED and gRED separate since the Genentech acquisition was finalized in 2009, and raises the question as to whether the research activities may likewise become consolidated (see

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