Sirtris Pharmaceuticals: Living Healthier, Longer

9149 Words37 Pages
MARCH 18, 2008


Sirtris Pharmaceuticals: Living Healthier, Longer
"You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred." Woody Allen One Saturday in February 2007, Dr. David Sinclair and Dr. Christoph Westphal co-founders of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, MA-based life sciences firm, navigated the company’s narrow hallways and cramped offices to a conference room for their regular weekend strategy planning session. When they reached the conference room, Sinclair and Westphal reviewed their activities during the past week. Sinclair, who was an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and co-chair of Sirtris’s Scientific Advisory
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• In-licensing. One issue was whether to in-license compounds from a biotech company to diversify Sirtris’s drug development platform beyond its narrow focus on SIRT1, one of seven sirtuin variants in the human body. Several members of the Sirtris executive team were advocating a more balanced risk portfolio as the company started to increase investment in its drug development efforts. Partnership with Pharma. As is almost always the case in biotech, the team was in discussions about a partnership with a few large pharmaceutical firms. They were considering (a) what it would mean for the organization to become tied to a pharmaceutical company at this stage of its development and (b) whether to postpone a deal until Sirtris had more clinical data. Was this the right point in the company’s history to do a deal? Nutraceuticals. Sinclair received a near-constant stream of emails and phone calls from the public requesting Sirtris’s proprietary version of resveratrol, SRT501. For some time, he had contemplated selling SRT501 as a nutraceutical, an off-the-shelf health supplement that would not require FDA approval. This idea raised many questions about market opportunity, commercialization strategies, and the potential impact of a nutraceuticals offering on the Sirtris brand and

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