Sanofi gets a hold of Salipro’s protein stabilization tech in R&D deal
Published: Nov 08, 2022
By Mark Terry
Sanofi inked a research collaboration and license agreement with Stockholm, Sweden-based Salipro Biotech, whose proprietary platform enables researchers to improve workflows for developing therapeutic antibodies or small molecules that target membrane proteins.
The alliance will combine this technology, which helps to stabilize membrane proteins, with Sanofi’s drug discovery programs.
In a statement Tuesday, Jens Frauenfeld, CEO of Salipro, said the company would work with Sanofi’s team “to accelerate their drug discovery efforts against a selected membrane protein drug target.”
Salipro’s technology has two formats: Salipro Classic, used for membrane proteins in detergent as initial material, and Salipro DirectMX, used to directly extract membrane proteins from cells.
Salipro has particular expertise in developing stable antigens of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), ion channels and transporters. Its pipeline is dominated by partnered projects, with two in the lead selection phase, one for GPCR and another for SLC. Additional partnered projects also target GPCR, SLC and ion channels, with two internal programs, one for an ion channel and one for GPCR.
GPCRs are the largest and most diverse family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They are utilized by cells to change extracellular signals into intracellular responses, including reactions to hormones, neurotransmitters and other stimuli, such as vision, smell and taste.
SLCs are solute carrier proteins, a superfamily of transporter proteins, which include about 458 transport proteins in 65 families. SLCs carry materials across cellular membranes.
In traditional protein research, detergents are utilized to extract membrane proteins. But they cause protein instability and are generally problematic in working on structural and biophysical studies.
The Salipro technology platform uses a small cellular protein called saposin. Typically, saposin transports lipids from place to place within the cells and binds to lipids. The technology platform enables saposin-based lipid nanoparticles, which are stable, and also allows researchers to embed fragile membrane proteins into the lipid nanoparticles, which are more stable.
In September, Salipro acquired patents in the United States and China for “Saposin lipoprotein particles and libraries from crude membranes,” which covers its DirectMX and Salipro technologies.
“Combining our expertise and platform technology to generate Salipro-stabilized drug targets with Sanofi’s experts in biologics discovery and development will open up entirely new possibilities to make the undruggable druggable for Sanofi’s biopharmaceutical pipeline,” Frauenfeld said in a statement.