Sanofi has inked a deal with Evotec and Apeiron Biologics for carrying out research and development of first-in-class small molecule-based immuno-oncology therapies to treat solid and hematological cancers.
The research collaboration and license agreement between the companies will leverage Evotec’s technological expertise and Apeiron Biologics’ experience with immunology to focus on identification of novel small molecules and their targets to develop next-generation therapies in immuno-oncology.
Sanofi said that the treatments they intend to develop are likely to complement currently available checkpoint inhibitors. The collaboration is based on the initial successful outcome of a phenotypic high throughput screen of potential compounds for development that was commissioned by Apeiron Biologics and conducted by Evotec. Under the collaboration, Sanofi has the option of screening its own compound libraries to identify new small molecule candidates for development.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi will have sole responsibility for all development, regulatory, commercial and manufacturing activities of the products resulting from the collaboration. Sanofi will support two years of funding for Evotec and Apeiron to conduct the research program, which will include potential early success milestone payments.
Upon continuation, as decided by Sanofi, Evotec will be entitled to receive further development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, which could total more than €200 million, and royalties on net sales.
Sanofi’s deal comes just days after it agreed on a $300 million divestment deal with AstraZeneca. Under the deal AstraZeneca will transfer the global rights to sell and develop Caprelsa to Sanofi’s Genzyme. In return AstraZeneca will pocket a whopping $300 million.