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Sanofi to pay $1.2bn to acquire Amunix and its ‘stealth’ technology

Sanofi will acquire Amunix’s next-generation protein engineering tech that allows biologic drugs to circulate in ‘stealth’ mode, becoming active only in diseased tissues


Sanofi has agreed to purchase US-based immuno-oncology company Amunix Pharmaceuticals for $1bn upfront and another $225m in milestones.

The deal brings with it Amunix’s proprietary ‘stealth’ technology XTEN and masking technology platform Pro-XTENTM, with the aim of developing ‘transformative T-cell engagers (TCE) and cytokine therapies for patients with cancer’.

“The Amunix technology platform utilises a next generation smart biologics approach to precisely tailor-deliver medicines to become active only in tumour tissues while sparing normal tissues, thus bringing the promise of more effective and safer treatment options for cancer patients,” said Dr John Reed, Sanofi’s head of R&D.

This is the third major acquisition by Sanofi in only a few months. In September the company completed its $3.2bn purchase of Translate Bio, aimed at bolstering its vaccines and mRNA capabilities, while in November it paid $1.9bn for Kadmon to strengthen its general medicines portfolio.

Acquisition of Amunix’s pipeline, including lead candidate AMX-818, will expand Sanofi’s oncology efforts. AMX-818 is a masked T-cell engager targeting HER2, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed on a wide variety of solid tumours including breast, gastric, non-small cell lung and colorectal cancers.

Key to the deal is Amunix’s XTEN next-generation protein engineering technology that allows biologics to circulate in ‘stealth’ mode and only become active in ‘disease-specific micro-environments’. By converting in disease tissues to short half-life agents, the active molecule is rapidly cleared from the body, potentially enabling safer and more efficacious medicines.

In April, Amunix presented preclinical data that showed the technology actually works, with AMX-818 activating as designed in ‘the protease-rich tumour microenvironment’ leading to ‘robust tumour regression in HER2 tumour models’.

At the time, Amunix CEO Angie You said: “This data demonstrates the potential of our Pro-XTEN protease-releasable masking technology applied to our XPAT platform that expands the utility and safety profile of T cell engagers. We are progressing this programme towards the clinic and look forward to bringing the potential of this drug to patients, in particular to those with tumour types where cancer immunotherapies have failed to date.”

AMX-818 expected to enter the clinic in early 2022.

Amunix’s technology offers the potential to overcome challenges that have plagued the adoption of T-Cell Engager bi-specific antibodies for solid tumours, including unwanted immune attack of normal healthy cells and systematic widespread immune system activation that leads to side effects such as cytokine release syndrome.

Sanofi expects to complete the acquisition of Amunix in the first quarter 2022.

Article by
Hugh Gosling

22nd December 2021

From: Healthcare



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