Sanofi picks up BTK inhibitor for MS development
- Sanofi SA announced Thursday morning it has inked a deal with Principia Biopharma Inc. to develop the South San Francisco-based biotech's oral multiple sclerosis drug PRN2246.
- The French pharma will pay $40 million upfront and has agreed to $756 million in milestones, as well as royalties. Principia has the right to co-fund Phase 3 development for increased royalties or a profit/loss sharing arrangement in the U.S.
- PRN2246 is a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor designed to cross the blood/brain barrier easily and impacts immune cell as well as brain cell signaling.
After developing three novel biologics with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., Sanofi recently announced its Genzyme unit would not extend the collaboration between the two companies.
At least two of the three new drugs — the eczema drug Dupixent (dupilumab) and the rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara (sarilumab) — are pegged to be blockbusters for Sanofi and Regeneron. Yet, many investors and analysts have questioned how the companies will fare now that they are not relying on each other as development partners.
Sanofi isn't leaving anything to chance: the French pharma’s new deal with Principia helps bolster its existing presence in multiple sclerosis. Sanofi has two older marketed products in the space — Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) and Aubagio (teriflunomide). Yet, the company’s neurology pipeline is shockingly bare, with no drugs in Phase 3 or registration. There is only one other MS drug in the pipeline — a Phase 1 compound.
In the first nine months of the year, Sanofi's multiple sclerosis franchise grew 24.8% year over year to total sales of €1.54 billion ($1.79 billion). Both drugs are still growing, despite increased competition from newer, more innovative drugs in the space.
- Sanofi SA Press release
Follow Lisa LaMotta on Twitter