Sanofi and DiCE Molecules announced Wednesday a deal potentially worth as much as $2.3 billion to develop oral drugs across a range of disease areas that could replace injectable monoclonal antibody therapies. Kathy Bowdish, head of Sanofi's Sunrise Initiative, remarked "we hope this partnership will help deliver essential therapies against currently intractable disease targets, and help patients who otherwise have been unable to receive treatments outside of the inpatient setting."
The companies noted that the agreement builds upon DiCE's technology platform, which they suggested has "the potential to unlock protein-protein interfaces that were previously unreachable for oral therapies." The drugmakers added that DiCE's technology platform may also "shorten drug development timelines through the rapid and efficient discovery of a greater breadth of molecules for each target in the collaboration."
The deal includes 12 targets over a five-year period and provides funding in excess of $50 million in equity, upfront, target exclusivity, technology access fees and research services. In addition, Sanofi will pay DiCE up to $184 million in research, clinical and regulatory milestone payments per target, as well as royalty payments based on future sales of each compound. The companies indicated that a joint steering committee comprised of Sanofi and DiCE representatives will oversee the initiative.
Commenting on DiCE's technology platform, Bowdish said "it's the first time that one is able to build very large libraries with billions of molecules" and screen them closely for protein targets that can fight disease. The executive disclosed that the 12 targets include some that currently have injectable drugs and others that are untreated, adding that the main areas of focus are cancer, heart disease, rare diseases and diabetes.
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