Stéphane Bancel, Former bioMérieux CEO, Talks Future of Startups, Diagnostics, Pharma

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together will “transform pharma”—something we’ll start to see within five years, he said.

He gave a couple of examples, citing local companies he’s involved with. “The first trend is you have companies, like BG Medicine, that by developing research done in academic centers, bring to market new content information that changes how we think about disease and how we stratify patients,” he said. “For me, the big change in personalized medicine is not that Pfizer is going to develop a drug for you or me, it’s the understanding of who’s going to respond to the drug, at what dose, and what side effect. And putting patients in sub-buckets of profile. That’s the piece that’s really happening as we speak, and the pace is increasing.”

The second trend is being driven by underlying technology, he said. “There are some fields of diagnostics where if you look at the last 10 years, there has not been progress. The best example is septicemia [blood poisoning]. The standard of care today is exactly the same as in 2000.” (It takes 24 to 48 hours to know the results of a test for a blood infection.) “I know entrepreneurs who have started companies, knowing nothing about diagnostics, just because they lost someone close, or they came very close to losing a kid or a spouse to sepsis, and could not believe that in the 21st century, when you can put someone on the moon and do incredible things from a science standpoint, you’d have to wait 24 to 48 hours to know if it was septicemia or not, and what antibiotic to give the patient,” he said. “Lots of people have started, in the last five years, companies using technologies that diagnostic guys had never thought of, or heard of, to look at a sample to try to get a signature, to cut the time to a result drastically—from two days to 10 minutes. This is a huge disruption.”

Of course, the falling cost of genome sequencing is also disruptive. How does Bancel see that trend impacting healthcare in the next five years? For starters, his answer presumes we will get our whole genomes sequenced rather than pay for separate genetic tests.

“You will even keep your genome on a USB key, or your iPhone or whatever, and as you grow older or as you develop disease, you’ll get your genome sequenced again to understand what has changed,” he said. “The best example is cancer, because it’s a disease of the genome. What’s already happening at [Mass. General Hospital] is they’re sequencing a healthy cell and a tumor cell of a given patient, comparing base by base using Knome software, for example, to give all the mutations in the tumor to the doc so the doc can use clinical-trial drugs to target exactly the mutations identified.”

Bancel was talking about the future of diagnostics and pharma, sure, but he might also have been talking about his own role in the industry. “This is going to be a big, big change,” he said. “I think the next five years is going to be transformed. If you look at all the data, we are reaching an inflection point.”

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44 responses to “Stéphane Bancel, Former bioMérieux CEO, Talks Future of Startups, Diagnostics, Pharma”

  1. Mark says:

    Bancel is a disaster. He is heading Moderna Therapeutics as CEO, where he consider employees as his servants. Biotechs does not succeed this way. He wants things happpen out of blue over night. He is out of touch from reality.
    He was forced out of BioMerieux after his peers could not put up with him.
    Please stop praising the people who does not know biotech. He has staffed Moderna with guys responsible for bringing down Tolerx (see thread at investor village

  2. Dan says:

    umm… this name is associated with some very scary reports at the read it yourself at

  3. steve says:

    Stephane was not pushed out but fired by Merieux family… due to his acts of going around and investing bioMerieux money in different biotech. Most of it was for personal gains for obtaining board memberships at various firms.

  4. Sharon says:

    Are these statements really accurate?

  5. Steve says:

    It has links to some very well known consumer web sites, e.g. Therefore, I assume some accuracy behind these statements.

  6. ash says:

    Moderna is full of nuts from top to bottom

  7. Benny says:

    ash, do you care to provide some examples?

  8. JT says:

    Yeh, Moderna is full of nuts, Nuts is not appropriate word for them. It is managed by a**holes. They would hire and fire. If you wanna get fired after few months for no fault, go join Moderna.

  9. sweet Tea says:

    Sounds fantastic!

  10. sweet Tea says:

    Yeah, data manipulators, opportunists, jerks, take advantage of employees what else… french screws

  11. sweet Tea says:

    Yeah, data manipulators, opportunists, jerks, take advantage of employees what else… french screws

  12. Apate says:

    Moderna is a perfect example of F-grade management. A complete and utter management failure: blame-game, falsified documentation, you name it. All their talent ran like wind to get away—that place is poison.

  13. sweet Tea says:

    worst, only talk blah blah, I had an interview at Moderna, I ran for shelter. It is a screwed people headed by screwed up managers.

  14. Alexa says:

    Moderna is a place where secretary believe she is a big boss…. CEO think he is a god of jerks… and CSO leads by ….you can guess whole picture of this corporation of nutz.

  15. Boopa says:

    A review from Glass door from a former employee.

    “An exhausting, demeaning, hurtful, and cruel place to work”


    in Cambridge, MA
    – Reviewed 3 weeks ago

    Pros – The location is in the heart of Cambridge’s
    biotech community so it’s easy to network with other people and
    companies and find a new job.

    Cons – Rampant favoritism followed by vilification.
    Executives take the credit for successes and place blame when failures
    happen. Employees are overworked and under resources with too much work
    to do in too little time-people have passed out at work from
    exhaustion. Employees are treated like chess pieces and then criticized
    for not knowing what’s going on or why. The company’s only about a
    year old with a very poor retention rate, lots of people are get fired
    and now a lot are resigning.

    Advice to Senior Management – Stop the secret
    management meetings following by ganging up on employees to bully them.
    Set realistic goals for the amount of work humans can complete in a
    given amount of time. Drop the take-it-or-leave it attitude you have
    with working with employees.

  16. Mashone says:

    This is all very disturbing.

  17. Paul says:

    I heard they have raised $30million in June

  18. Vanessa says:

    They are going after cool drug candidates

    • John says:

      I’m not sure what kind of person would call a drug candidate “cool.” Do you mean “promising”? Or “novel”? “Cool” is an adjective that teenagers use to describe shoes or Apple products…not clinical drugs intended to treat sick and dying patients. Hard to take a “cool” pipeline seriously.

      • Susie says:

        No it is “cool” This is the worst their CSO and CEO use. No guess the fate of the company where CSO and CEO use the word “cool” for a drug. It is a useless waste place on the planet.

      • Mill says:

        Moderna CEO and CSO describe it as a “cool” drugs pipeline. These drugs exists only in their dreams. You can imagine the knowledge of a company CEO and CSO who call drugs “cool.” Moderna is a waste.

    • Katie says:

      “cool” as in cool Marijuana? Moderna CSO and CEO must have consumed some “cool dugs.” :-)

  19. Emily says:

    I think the majority of that “30 million” came from friends of friends. Like how you spot your friends some cash when they are desperate. Goodluck!

    • Deb says:

      30 Mln for Moderna? Only super fools or hallucinated investors will do it, i.e. bet money on a garbage company with useless CSO and CEO.

  20. Susan says:

    I heard more than 50% of their staff was either fired or resigned. I also heard they spent almost all of that $30 million of their friends money on expensive consultants that they didn’t really need and high-paid executives. And the rest of that money went into experiments that gave results that don’t make sense and gave mixed results.

    • Deb says:

      You heard it right. The problem with Moderna is incapable CSO and CEO. CSO knows no science and cooks results. He likes to fire any one who is a threat to his existence, and may prove that he is most unqualified person. Moderna is a French gang where people are hired because of their origin and not qualifications. You must fit the culture of dumb scientists who knows no science.

  21. Mittens says:

    Methinks Moderna needs to go back into the “stealth”mode oven…its half-baked and not very well seasoned.

  22. mary says:

    But what if there was an entirely new drug modality to enable the body to produce its own healing proteins in vivo?