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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Sanofi, Evotec, Aperion Biologics Strike Collaborative Cancer Treatment Deal Worth $220 Million

Written by: | | Dated: Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Sanofi SA (SNY) has struck a partnership worth nearly $220 million with German-based Evotec AG and Austrian-based Aperion Biologics AG to develop cancer immunotherapies, the companies said this morning.

The two-year deal will cover research and development efforts to advance a first-in-class small molecule-based cancer immunotherapies to treat solid and haematopoietic cancers.

“Immuno-oncology has emerged as a particularly promising field to create potentially curative treatment options for many cancer patients,” Victoria Richon, Sanofi’s head of cancer research said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi will support two years of funding for Evotec AG and Apeiron to conduct the research program, which will include potential early success milestone payments. Sanofi will have sole responsibility for all development, regulatory, commercial and manufacturing activities of any products that result from collaborative agreement, Sanofi said. Sanofi has the option to continue the agreement beyond the projected two-year plan. If the companies continue the agreement, Evotec will be entitled to receive further development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, which could total nearly $300 million.

The collaborative agreement will further enhance Sanofi’s oncology portfolio. It will also enable Evotec to enter into the drug discovery area of immuno-oncology and it will support Apeiron Biologics’ strategy focusing on novel and innovative checkpoint inhibiting approaches, the companies said.

Cancer immunotherapy is the use of the body’s immune system to reject or attack cancerous cells and tumors, however, immunotherapies for cancer has had limited success with patients. Still, immunotherapies used for oncology has become a top focus for many pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY), Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Merck & Co. (MRK) and Roche (RHHBY). There is a belief that immunotherapies could replace traditional chemotherapy for cancer treatments, which makes the companies developing these treatments attractive to investors.

In addition to the cancer immunotherapy deal with Evotec and Apeiron, Sanofi is also working closely with its long-time partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN), Reuters said.

This is the second deal Sanofi struck with Evotec in less than a week. On Friday the companies announced a partnership worth $327 million to develop next generation treatments for diabetes using stem-cells. The goal will be to develop beta cell replacement therapy derived from human stem cells, Evotec said in a statement Friday morning. Beta cells play a key role in the development of diabetes and are destroyed by the patient’s own immune system in type 1 diabetes. As a result, patients have to follow a life-long regimen of carefully dosed insulin injections. In type 2 diabetes, beta cells are functionally impaired. Current therapeutic options cannot prevent the deterioration of beta cell function, eventually creating a need for insulin injections The drugs could reduce the need for diabetes patients to inject themselves with insulin, said Sanofi, a leading diabetes drug manufacturer.


August 10, 2015
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

Source: BioSpace Featured News

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