Welcome to the club: Regeneron, Sanofi to team up, join cancer immunotherapy fray
- Sanofi and Regeneron have announced a major collaboration on a new immuno-oncology project. Sanofi is committing $2.17 billion, including $640 million upfront to Regeneron; a potential sales milestone of $375 million; and other funds for various development activities.
- Regeneron's Chief Scientific Officer, George D. Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, said that the company is focusing on therapies that act on various pathways and target both cancerous tumors, as well as the body's immune system.
- The agreement covers both bi-modal antibodies and new bi-specific antibodies.
While this partnership agreement is designed to do what many other imuno-oncology R&D agreements do—i.e., advance the study of PD-1 inhibitors, while exploring various targets and pathways that can be manipulated immunologically—this is one of the only teams currently exploring bi-specific antibodies in depth.
Bi-specific antibody therapeutics focus on therapies in which two distinct targets in the body can be bound by the same molecule. Usually the two targets are a cancer cell and an immune cell. The team will be relying on Regeneron's platform to produce bi-specific antibodies, with a focus on hematologic and solid cancers.
This is only part of a very comprehensive development program, which also includes antibodies to lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG3), glucocorticoid-induced tumor-necrosis-factor-receptor-related protein (GITR) and a programmed death ligand (PD-L1) inhibitor.
The companies will certainly be facing plenty of competition. Immuno-oncology has been the name of the game for companies ranging from Merck, to Bristol-Myers Squibb, to Pfizer, and many, many more.