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Sanofi bolsters its immuno-oncology pipeline for $2.5B

6 Dec 2019

Lead asset THOR-707 being explored across multiple solid tumor types alone and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors and other future IO combinations.

Sanofi and Synthorx have entered into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Synthorx for $68 per share in cash, which represents an aggregate equity value of approximately $2.5 billion (on a fully diluted basis).

“This acquisition fits perfectly with our strategy to build a portfolio of high-quality assets and to lead with innovation. In addition, it is aligned with our goal to build our oncology franchise with potentially practice-changing medicines and novel combinations," says Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi.

“Synthorx’s exceptionally novel discovery platform has already produced a molecule that has the potential to become a foundation of the next generation of immuno-oncology combination therapies. By selectively expanding the numbers of effector T-cells and natural killer cells in the body, THOR-707 can be combined with our current oncology medicines and our emerging pipeline of immuno-modulatory agents for treating cancer. Moreover, Synthorx’s pipeline of engineered lymphokines has great promise not only for oncology but also for addressing many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. ” says John Reed, Global Head of Research & Development at Sanofi.

“We are grateful that Sanofi has acknowledged the value of our Expanded Genetic Alphabet platform and the potential of our pipeline of optimized therapeutics for cancer and autoimmune disorders,” says Laura Shawver, President and Chief Executive Officer, Synthorx. “Importantly, Sanofi has a portfolio of therapeutics that holds incredible promise for combining with our cytokine Synthorins to benefit patients around the world. I want to thank our employees and the Sanofi organization for their relentless efforts on behalf of patients.”

Enhancing Sanofi’s Immuno-Oncology Franchise

Synthorx’s lead immuno-oncology product candidate, THOR-707, a variant of interleukin-2 (IL-2), is in clinical development in multiple solid tumor types as a single agent and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors. It has the potential to become the best-in-class IL-2 therapeutic for the treatment of solid tumors and demonstrate improved pharmacology, less frequent dosing, and therapeutic superiority when compared to other IL-2 compounds.

The addition of THOR-707 and Synthorx’s other earlier-stage cytokine programs to Sanofi’s pipeline will enhance Sanofi’s position in oncology, and in immuno-oncology. We expect IL-2 to become a foundation of future IO-IO combinations as well as offering multiple combination opportunities with Sanofi’s clinical and pre-clinical oncology assets, including with PD-1, CD-38, and molecules that modulate effector T-cells and natural killer cells.

Synergistic with Sanofi’s existing platforms

Synthorx’s Expanded Genetic Alphabet platform is expected to be a source for developing a differentiated therapeutic pipeline. Alone and in combination with other existing Sanofi platforms, including the Nanobody technology, it will enable the company to develop a wide range of novel biologics, including drug conjugates, protein fusions, and multi-specific biologics, with applications beyond oncology and extending to other therapeutic areas.

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