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Sanofi signs $900m allergy collaboration with Selecta

Companies will develop three immunotherapies targeting different allergens

Sanofi

Sanofi is to partner with US biopharma Selecta Biosciences to develop treatments for serious allergies.

The French pharma company will work with Selecta and make use of its synthetic vaccine particle (SVP) technology to develop up to three immunotherapies for specific allergy-causing antigens.

Selecta will be eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $300m per allergen indication, meaning the deal could potentially be worth up to $900m.

The first immunotherapy to be investigated as part of the deal will target a life threatening food allergen, while the remaining two options will cover either a food allergen or an aeroallergen, such as pollen.

“We are very pleased that Sanofi, a global leader in vaccines and immunology, is entering into a partnership with Selecta to develop and commercialise products from our immunotherapy platform,” said Dr Werner Cautreels, Selecta's president and CEO.

“Selecta's SVP technology can restore balance to dysregulated immune systems by producing immune tolerance to specific antigens. Our approach addresses the underlying causes of these diseases and thereby makes advances beyond today's symptomatic treatments and allergen avoidance strategies."

According to Selecta, its SVP technology can engineer nanoparticles with the “ideal structure and composition to produce immune tolerance by balancing the overactive response to specific allergy-causing antigens”.

In addition to targeting allergens, it has also been used to develop investigational therapies in autoimmune diseases, protein replacement therapy and transplant rejection.

The deal comes shortly after the appointment of Dr Gary Nabel, who has a background in allergy research, as Sanofi's chief scientific officer.

Prior to joining the company, Dr Nabel was director of the vaccine research centre (VRC) at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

29th November 2012

From: Research

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