Innovent Biologics, Sanofi to expedite development of cancer drugs in China

Chinese biopharma company Innovent Biologics and French pharma giant Sanofi have entered into a partnership that aims to bring innovative drugs to patients in China suffering from difficult-to-treat cancers.

The two parties plan to expedite the development and commercialization of a couple of important clinical stage oncology assets of Sanofi, which are SAR408701 (tusamitamab ravtansine; anti-CEACAM5 antibody-drug conjugate) and SAR444245 (non-alpha IL-2).

SAR408701 and SAR444245, which are in phase 3 and phase 2 development, respectively, will be combined with sintilimab, a checkpoint inhibitor in China. Sintilimab, which is sold as TYVYT (sintilimab injection) in China was co-developed by Innovent Biologics and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly).

Apart from the collaboration and licensing deal, Sanofi will inject €300 million into Innovent Biologics by subscribing to new common shares of the Chinese biopharma company.

Innovent Biologics, Sanofi to expedite development of cancer drugs in China

Innovent Biologics, Sanofi to expedite development of cancer drugs in China. Photo courtesy of Sanofi de/Wikimedia Commons.

Dr. John Reed — Sanofi Global Head of Research and Development said: “This strategic collaboration with Innovent will not only accelerate the development, market access and future commercialization of two of our key oncology medicines in selected combinations with sintilimab, but also bolster our overall presence in oncology in China.

“We look forward to a successful partnership with Innovent, one of the most innovative companies in China, and to leveraging their development capabilities and market leadership in the country.”

As per the agreement, Innovent Biologics will develop and exclusively commercialize SAR408701 (tusamitamab) in various oncology-based indications in China. Sanofi can earn up to €80 million development milestone payments and royalties on the net sales of the product in China following approval.

For SAR444245, the two pharma companies will jointly study its development in China in multiple types of cancer.

Innovent Biologics will be leading the clinical development of SAR444245, while Sanofi will be the sole holder of marketing authorization for the two assets and will be totally responsible for the commercialization of SAR245.

The Chinese biopharma company will be eligible to be paid up to €60 million development milestone payments and royalties on the net sales of the product in China following its approval.

Dr. Michael Yu — Innovent Biologics Founder, Chairman and CEO said: “This strategic collaboration with Sanofi, a leading global pharmaceutical company, opens the pathway to great synergy for accelerating the pace of innovation.

“This pioneering partnership will leverage the synergy between Sanofi and Innovent’s pipeline and R&D resources with the mutual aim to address major unmet medical needs for cancer patients. We hope this agreement will be a great start of the two parties’ long-term partnership, and we look forward to bringing more innovative therapies to patients.”

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