Genfit, sanofi-aventis form research collaboration

New research collaboration between Genfit and sanofi- aventis to target cardiometabolic disorders

Kelsey Kaustinen
LILLE, France & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--
Genfit,a France-based biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Lille, and sanofi-aventisannounced today the signing of a new contract centered on the research anddevelopment of new drugs for treating metabolic disorders, a deal that elevatedGenfit shares by 19.3 percent.
 
Theagreement grants sanofi exclusive worldwide rights for the development andcommercialization of molecules resulting from the collaboration. Genfit, inturn, will receive annual payments for research, and could also receiveadditional milestone payments depending on, as the company stated in a pressrelease, "the progress of the development, registration, and commercializationof the resulting products." Those milestone payments could total $54.5 million,and Genfit also stands to receive royalties from the sale of products thatsanofi develops as a result of the collaboration.
 
"Weare particularly proud of the new risk-sharing aspect of the collaboration,demonstrating the strong commitment of both parties," said Jean-FrançoisMouney, Chairman of Genfit's Management Board. "The combination of Genfit'sexpertise and technological platforms, together with the experience ofsanofi-aventis in R&D and drug commercialization, offers extremelyinteresting perspectives for our collaborative research program."
 
Genfitstates in a company press release that the collaboration's aim will be to"identify molecules that aim to correct the mitochondrial dysfunctionassociated with certain pathologies including metabolic diseases." Metabolicdisorders include such conditions as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol,osteoporosis and obesity. Genfit's focus would be largely on cardiometabolicdisorders, which damage the heart.
 
 
Accordingto Mouney, the agreement is for three years, though he has "no reason to thinkthis (agreement) will not last longer." He declined to name any specificdiseases that the company would try to develop cures for, other than to assertthat the focus would be broader than diabetes. 
 
Genfitand sanofi have collaborated in the past, and Genfit names sanofi as one oftheir key partnerships. Their first partnership agreement was signed in 1999and focused on discovering innovative therapeutic targets for Type 2 diabetesas well as vascular inflammatory diseases. The partnership resulted in AVE0897,a Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor (PPAR) agonist that is currentlyin Phase I clinical trials as a diabetes treatment. Mouney says that Genfit is"very pleased to pursue our alliance with sanofi-aventis after more than 10years of collaboration."
 
 
"Withsanofi, we have an agreement with a company for whom the development incardiometabolic disease is a true priority," says Mouney.
 
Genfitand sanofi both have branch offices located in Cambridge, Mass., consisting ofGenfit's U.S. subsidiary Genfit Corp. and sanofi's genomics center.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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