On May 19, Principia CEO Martin Babler received an unsolicited email from the other side of the planet. It was Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, and he wanted to know if Babler had time to hop on the phone.
These were busy, likely stressful days for the freshman Big Pharma chief. The week prior, he had caused a minor intercontinental controversy when he told Bloomberg that the US would get first rights to pre-order of their Covid-19 vaccine because BARDA had invested in it at risk. The words did not sit well in Sanofi’s home country of France, where both the government and chairman Serge Weinberg viewed the company as something of a national institution. President Emmanuel Macron had summoned Hudson to the presidential palace and, according to some local reports, they were meeting that day.
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