Why did you decide to partner, and not merge?
EBELING: With alliances, it is imperative to have a jointly defined vision. But the cultures can be different, with varied but complementary
strengths. The culture of a young start-up biotech company, such as Idenix, is a key component behind the company's accomplishments
to date, and this, as well as the structure of our deal, is beneficial to both parties. I do not believe that a full merger
would provide the same platform for building the business.
SOMMADOSSI: The unique structure of the Idenix-Novartis strategic alliance keeps in place all of the elements that have made Idenix successful
thus far: our innovative and entrepreneurial culture, our expertise and focus on antiretrovirals, and the management team
that executes our mission. It also has provided Idenix the opportunity to enter public markets to continue building our own
infrastructure, to expand our research and development functions, and to establish commercial operations.
Because Novartis does not have to license a product until it reaches initiation of Phase III clinical trials, Idenix takes
on the early discovery and clinical development risk. Once a product is licensed, Novartis' experience and financial support
complement the later-stage requirements to rapidly bring the drug to market. This strategic alliance leverages the strengths
of Idenix and Novartis to achieve a true win-win for both pharmaceutical companies. Ultimately, the patients are the benefactors
of this relationship because it enables us to deliver these medicines more rapidly and on a more global scale than either
party could on its own.