Sanofi, Evotec and Apeiron partner on immuno-oncology

pharmafile | August 10, 2015 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Apeiron, Cancer, Evotec, Sanofi, immuno-oncology, immunotherapy, tumours 

Sanofi is partnering with biotech companies Evotec and Apeiron to develop new cancer immuno-oncology therapies.

The companies say the potential new treatment could fight both tumours and blood cancers by enhancing the anti-tumour activity of the human immune system.

Sanofi says the partnership would take advantage of Germany’s Evotec’s technological expertise and Austria-based Apeiron Biologics’ experience with immunology, with the aim of identifying novel small molecules and their targets to develop next-generation immuno-oncology treatments. The new therapies will complement existing checkpoint inhibitors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi has the option of screening its own compound libraries to identify new small molecule candidates for development.

Sanofi will support two years of funding for Evotec and Apeiron to conduct the research program, which will include potential early success milestone payments. Evotec will be entitled to further development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, potentially worth more than €200 million, and royalties on net sales.

The French company will also take sole responsibility for all development, regulatory, commercial and manufacturing activities of the products resulting from the collaboration.

“Immuno-oncology has emerged as a particularly promising field to create potentially curative treatment options for many cancer patients,” says Victoria Richon, vice-president and head of cancer research, discovery and early development at Sanofi. “Partnering with Evotec and Apeiron Biologics will significantly advance our shared vision toward realising the full value of these innovative small molecule treatments.”

Evotec chief executive, Dr Werner Lanthaler, comments: “We are pleased and proud that our joint efforts in immuno-oncology with Apeiron have led to this partnership with Sanofi. The collaboration is a great example of an efficient translation from early-stage research to pharma development.”

“It is encouraging to see that our work, even at an early stage, can attract interest from one of the world’s leading, large biopharmaceutical companies,” adds Apeiron chief executive, Dr Hans Loibner. “We look forward to applying all the different skills and resources bundled in this collaboration for the benefit of this treatment concept and ultimately for the benefit of patients.”

Joel Levy

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