Sanofi gains rights to Kiadis' NK cell programme for use with Sarclisa

Sanofi licensed exclusive rights to Kiadis Pharma's K-NK004 programme, including use of the modified natural killer (NK) cells with the French drugmaker's anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody Sarclisa (isatuximab), Kiadis said Wednesday. Sanofi also obtained rights to use Kiadis' K-NK platform for two undisclosed preclinical programmes.

John Reed, global head of R&D at Sanofi, commented "we will be studying this cell-based therapeutic with our recently FDA-approved treatment for patients with difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma." Sarclisa gained clearance in the US in March and in Europe last month, in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb's Pomalyst (pomalidomide) and dexamethasone, for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies.

Synergistic therapeutics

"Innovative collaborations, such as this partnership with Kiadis, have the potential to expand the clinical benefits of our medicines by combining them with synergistic partnered therapeutics to deliver improved outcomes for patients," Reed added.

According to Kiadis, its K-NK004 programme consists of NK cells that have been modified to prevent expression of CD38, rendering them resistant to the effects of anti-CD38 antibodies such as Sarclisa, which deplete patients' own NK cells. The company suggested that "adjunctive infusion of CD38 knock out K-NK cells will reinvigorate the natural synergy between NK cells and antibodies to kill tumour cells, optimising efficacy."

Potential of over €850 million in milestones

Under the agreed terms, Sanofi will make an upfront payment of €17.5 million ($19.8 million) to Kiadis, which is also eligible for as much as €857.5 million ($971.8 million) upon the achievement of preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. In addition, Kiadis stands to receive up to low-double-digit royalties based on commercial sales of approved products resulting from the agreement. 

In exchange, Sanofi will develop and commercialise K-NK004 in combination with CD38-targeting molecules for the treatment of multiple myeloma and other CD38-positive blood cancers. The French drugmaker will be responsible for all costs related to the licensed K-NK programmes, while Kiadis has retained exclusive rights to and will supply its PM21 particle technology, which is designed to improve ex vivo expansion and activation of cytotoxic NK cells. Kiadis noted that the license does not include rights to K-NK002 and K-NK003, or to any other of its current and future programmes.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Sanofi hopes to give Sarclisa a leg-up.

To read more Top Story articles, click here.