Sanofi and Regeneron to develop new antibody cancer treatments


French drugmaker commits up to US$2.17bn to collaboration

Sanofi has agreed a new joint collaboration with Regeneron to develop cancer immuno-therapies.

The two companies will develop a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor currently in Phase 1 testing and plan to begin clinical trials in 2016 with new therapeutic candidates based on ongoing, preclinical programmes.

'The field of immuno-oncology has shown the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for patients with certain types of cancer. However, the field is still in its very early days,' said George Yancopoulos, Chief Scientific Officer, Regeneron and President, Regeneron Laboratories. 'We believe the approaches most likely to deliver the best results to patients will combine multiple innovative therapies acting on different pathways and targets both in the tumour and the body's immune response - and will precisely target these medicines to the right patient.'

Sanofi will make an upfront payment to Regeneron of $640m, and the companies will also jointly invest $1bn for the discovery of immuno-oncology antibody candidates through proof of concept development. Sanofi will contribute 75% ($750m) and Regeneraon 25% ($250m) of this sum.

With more than eight years of successful collaboration between us, I am confident in our ability to advance these novel programmes

In addition, the companies will equally fund an additional $650m for the development of REGN2810, a PD-1 inhibitor. Sanofi will also pay Regeneron a one-time milestone of $375m if sales of a PD-1 product and any other collaboration antibody sold for use in combination with a PD-1 product exceed $2bn in any consecutive 12-month period.

Finally, the two companies have agreed to re-allocate $75m (over three years) for immuno-oncology antibodies from Sanofi's $160m annual contribution to their existing antibody collaboration, which otherwise continues as announced in November 2009.

Elias Zerhouni, President, Global R&D at Sanofi, said: 'The Sanofi-Regeneron Alliance has demonstrated its ability to translate cutting-edge science into groundbreaking medicines for patients with serious needs.

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'With more than eight years of successful collaboration between us, I am confident in our ability to advance these novel programmes. In addition to PD-1, the collaboration brings together a range of validated, innovative preclinical programmes that have unique potential to help patients either as monotherapy or in combination approaches.'