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Sanofi has formed a multi-programme collaboration with biotechnology firm Kymera Therapeutics to develop and commercialise protein degrader therapies that target IRAK4 in immune-inflammatory diseases.
The partners also plan to work together on a second earlier stage programme.
Under the partnership, Sanofi will make an upfront payment of $150m in cash to Kymera, which is eligible for additional payments of more than $2bn in potential development, regulatory and sales milestones.
The upfront payment will provide Sanofi with worldwide rights to develop small molecule IRAK4 protein degraders in inflammation and immunology therapeutic areas, along with a second earlier stage undisclosed programme.
IRAK4 is involved in various immune-inflammatory diseases, including hidradenitis suppurativa, atopic dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Kymera will advance the IRAK4 programme through Phase I clinical studies and Sanofi will then assume responsibility for clinical development and commercialisation. Also, Sanofi will lead all clinical development activities related to the second programme.
Furthermore, Kymera will hold an option to participate in the clinical development of both programmes in the US, and retain global rights to its IRAK4 programme in oncology indications.
Sanofi Research & Development global head John Reed said: “Kymera has developed an incredible drug discovery engine producing protein degraders with compelling and differentiated pharmacology against targets that, to date, have not been optimally addressed with other therapeutic modalities.
“We are excited to partner with the Kymera team to advance a new generation of first-in-class therapies with the potential to eliminate underlying drivers of disease.”
Sanofi has also entered into an agreement, valued at around $980m, for an exclusive licence to Kiadis Pharma’s natural killer cell-based K-NK004 programme.
The alliance will combine Kiadis’ CD38 knock out (CD38KO) K-NK therapeutic with Sanofi’s anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies, including its multiple myeloma drug Sarclis, to potentially target tumour cells.
Sanofi has additionally gained exclusive rights to leverage Kiadis’ K-NK platform for two undisclosed preclinical programmes.
Kiadis will receive €17.5m ($19.7m) in upfront payment and may receive up to €857.5m ($969m) when Sanofi reaches preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones.
Last month, Sanofi partnered with Translate Bio to develop mRNA vaccines against various infectious diseases.