Sanofi enters deal with Ablynx to develop drugs for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases

Sanofi entered a research collaboration and global exclusive licensing agreement with Ablynx initially focused on developing and commercialising drugs for the treatment of various immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, Ablynx announced Thursday. The Belgian company noted that the deal, which includes an upfront payment from Sanofi of 23 million euros ($26.5 million), is potentially worth up to 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in milestones.

Under the agreement, Sanofi will gain access to certain Nanobodies in Ablynx's existing portfolio, as well as to the latter's scientists and proprietary Nanobody platform. Ablynx added that as part of the deal, Sanofi obtains exclusive global rights to certain multi-specific Nanobodies against selected targets, with options for similar rights to additional targets, for a total of eight potential Nanobody product candidates.

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Frank Nestle, Sanofi's global head of immunology therapeutic research area, remarked "this collaboration is the latest example of Sanofi's strategic commitment to expand our drug discovery pipeline in immunology." Nestle added "we are particularly excited by the Ablynx technology as a leading biologics platform, enabling the development of transformative multi-targeting treatment approaches."

Along with the upfront payment, Ablynx stands to receive research funding, estimated to amount to 8 million euros ($9.2 million), for the initially selected targets. The Belgian company is also eligible to receive option exercise fees and research funding, plus tiered royalties up to low double digits on net sales of any products originating from the collaboration.

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