AMSTERDAM, Netherlands—Kiadis Pharma N.V., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative natural killer cell therapies for patients with life-threatening diseases, has granted an exclusive license for its previously undisclosed K-NK004 program to Sanofi.
The agreement covers Kiadis’ proprietary CD38 knock out (CD38KO) K-NK therapeutic for combination with anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies, including Sarclisa, Sanofi’s recently approved therapy for patients with multiple myeloma. Additionally, Sanofi has obtained exclusive rights to use Kiadis’ K-NK platform for two undisclosed preclinical programs.
Natural killer (NK) cells are the human body’s first line of defense against cancer and infections. Antibodies work synergistically with NK cells to kill tumor cells in a process called antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Treatment of multiple myeloma with anti-CD38 antibodies, such as Sarclisa, deplete the patients’ own NK cells, as natural NK cells also express CD38. Kiadis’ CD38KO K-NK cells are NK cells that have been modified to prevent expression of CD38, and are thus resistant to this effect. Therefore, adjunctive infusion of CD38KO K-NK cells will reinvigorate the natural synergy between NK cells and antibodies to kill tumor cells, optimizing efficacy.
As part of the agreement, Kiadis will receive a €17.5 million up-front payment and will be entitled to receive up to €857.5 million upon Sanofi’s achievement of preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. Kiadis will also receive up to low double-digit royalties based on commercial sales of approved products resulting from this agreement.
“We are proud to announce this collaboration with Sanofi, which marks the start of the previously undisclosed K-NK004 program and expands the application of our K-NK platform into multiple myeloma,” said Arthur Lahr, CEO of Kiadis. “The agreement with Sanofi—with their world-class expertise and approved anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody, Sarclisa, in multiple myeloma and deep understanding of NK-cell biology—is a testament to the groundbreaking potential of our K-NK natural killer cell platform to treat life-threatening diseases.”
“The licensing of Kiadis’ CD38KO K-NK cells is particularly exciting for Sanofi since we will be studying this cell-based therapeutic with our recently FDA approved treatment for patients with difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma, in hopes of bringing even more options to these patients with this hematologic cancer,” added John Reed, global head of research and development at Sanofi. “At Sanofi, we are committed to pioneering treatments that address unmet healthcare challenges. Innovative collaborations, such as this partnership with Kiadis, have the potential to expand the clinical benefits of our medicines by combining them with synergistic partnered therapeutics to deliver improved outcomes for patients.”