PARIS—Sanofi has launched a research collaboration and license agreement with Lead Pharma, a Dutch company specializing in innovative therapeutics for cancer and autoimmune diseases, for the discovery, development and commercialization of small-molecule therapies against the nuclear hormone receptors known as ROR gamma t to treat a variety of autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.
“Anti-ROR gamma t therapies represent a ground-breaking opportunity that we are eager and motivated to pursue through our collaboration with Lead Pharma,” commented Christian Antoni, vice president and head of the Immunology & Inflammation Franchise, Research & Development, Sanofi. “At Sanofi, we believe networked innovations—working collaboratively across science sectors—is the most effective way to bring meaningful new therapies to patients. To this end, Lead Pharma's innovative capabilities and productivity, exemplified by the ROR gamma t program, make them ideal partners for Sanofi in this area of drug discovery.”
Per the terms of the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on the early phase of research and development in hopes of identifying drug candidates and beginning human trials within three to four years. Sanofi will pay Lead Pharma an upfront payment of an undisclosed amount, with the potential for research, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments as well. Lead Pharma also stands to receive royalty payments on global sales from any products resulting from the collaboration. Sanofi will assume responsibility for clinical development, and will have worldwide marketing and commercialization rights to any resulting products. No additional financial details were released.
This announcement comes roughly a month after Sanofi announced another agreement, this one with Boehringer Ingelheim for the manufacture of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to boost Sanofi's manufacturing capacity in support of upcoming product launches. Per the terms of the agreement, Sanofi will have access to Boehringer Ingelheim's capabilities in Biberach an der Riss, Germany to transfer and manufacture therapeutic mAbs. Initial product transfers are expected to begin early this year. No financial terms for the agreement were released.
"Boehringer Ingelheim is a highly capable and experienced partner to complement our continued alliance with Regeneron and the investments we are making in building our own internal capabilities as we prepare for a wave of potential new product launches in the coming years," Wolfram Carius, senior vice president of Biologics at Sanofi, commented in a press release. "This collaboration reinforces Sanofi's commitment to our strong biologics pipeline and will enable us to take the necessary steps to provide access to high-quality therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to meet the needs of patients."