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Sanofi and Innate Pharma expand cancer therapeutics collaboration

The partnership is aimed at exploring the potential of natural killer cells therapeutics in oncology


Sanofi and Innate Pharma (Innate) have announced an expansion of their cancer therapeutics collaboration, with Sanofi licensing Innate’s Antibody-based natural killer (NK) Cell Engager Therapeutics (ANKET) platform to target the glycoprotein B7H3, which is overexpressed in a number of solid tumours.

The partners originally announced a research collaboration and licensing agreement in 2016 for the generation and evaluation of up to two bispecific NK cell engagers, with one of these molecules already in clinical studies.

Under the expanded collaboration, Sanofi will have the option to add up to two additional ANKET targets. In line with the terms of the original licence agreement, Sanofi will be responsible for all development, manufacturing and commercialisation of products resulting from the collaboration.

To date, €13m milestone payments to Innate have been announced, which is eligible for up to €400m in development and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties on net sales.

Under the terms of the new licence agreement, Innate will receive an upfront payment of €25m from Sanofi and will be eligible for up to €1.35bn in preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones plus royalties on potential net sales.

“By incorporating various tumour antigen binders, NK cell engagers are a versatile technology that may provide new options for patients and offer clinical benefit across multiple cancers, while also maintaining a good safety profile,” said Yannis Morel, executive vice president, product portfolio strategy and business development at Innate.

The two resulting bispecific NK cell engagers from the original collaboration between the two companies are currently being evaluated by Sanofi’s R&D team.

SAR443579, which targets the receptor CD123, is being evaluated in an ongoing phase 1/2 trial as a treatment for relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukaemia, B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome.

Sanofi has also moved the second candidate, a BCMA-targeting NK cell engager dubbed SAR445514, into investigational new drug-enabling studies.

“At Sanofi, we are exploring the potential of NK cells for cancer immunotherapy, a key pillar for our oncology strategy,” said the company’s global head of oncology, Valeria Fantin.

She continued: “Our relationship with Innate aligns with our commitment to work with promising French companies and supports our ambition to develop a diverse portfolio of next-generation NK cell engagers, highly synergistic with Sanofi’s allogeneic NK cell platform, engineered lymphokines that stimulate NK cells and growing Immuno-oncology pipeline.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

22nd December 2022

From: Research



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