Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher has told PharmaTimes of his support for sharing trial data but the best way forward involves a structured approach to data disclosure.

Speaking in Paris at the company's annual press conference at the end of last week, Mr Viehbacher (pictured) said that in terms of data-sharing, "the objective is to accelerate research". He says that sharing data to speed up development of new medicines makes sense, but a rigourous system that protects patient privacy is needed.

Mr Viehbacher is concerned about campaigns that advocate the publication of all clinical trials, saying that "dumping" piles of data would not serve a useful purpose. He told PT that he prefers approaches such as the soon-to-be-launched Project Data Sphere initiative for cancer.

The latter will allow scientists affiliated with life science companies, hospitals and institutions as well as independent researchers to share, integrate, and analyse historical, Phase III comparator-arm oncology trial data. Mr Viehbacher argues that this approach will have practical benefits, citing the example of HIV drug development where companies shared data and transformed treatment for the disease.

Mr Viehbacher smiled when asked whether payers in Europe appreciate the importance of innovative treatments and are prepared to pay what drugmakers believe is a fair price. He said that "sometimes, yes", in oncology and some rare diseases it has proved possible to get reasonable prices but the fact that there are nearly 30 systems in Europe with different reimbursement criteria is clearly creating a barrier to access to medicines.