Sanofi to develop Principia Biopharma multiple sclerosis drug candidate


Pharma industry news : French pharma company Sanofi and Principia Biopharma, a California-based biotechnology company have reached a deal to develop the latter’s multiple sclerosis drug candidate – PRN2246, which is a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

The experimental oral drug will be developed for treating multiple sclerosis and also other central nervous system diseases in a deal that could fetch $805 million to Principia Biopharma.

Sanofi will be granted an exclusive, global license to develop and commercialize PRN2246, which is currently in clinical development.

As per the terms of the deal, Sanofi will pay an upfront payment of $40 million to Principia Biopharma which will be followed up later by future milestone payments of the multiple sclerosis drug candidate that can potentially reach $765 million along with royalties on the sales of the products.

Headquarters of French pharma company Sanofi in Paris

Headquarters of French pharma company Sanofi in Paris. Photo courtesy of Sanofi.

Rita Balice-Gordon, the Global Head of MS/Neuroscience Therapeutic Research Area at Sanofi, commenting on the multiple sclerosis drug deal, said: “Our agreement with Principia is an example of Sanofi’s strategic commitment to build our drug discovery and development pipeline in MS and neurological diseases.

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“Complementing our own internal R&D expertise, external relationships like this may accelerate delivery of new treatments to patients living with these serious diseases.”

According to Sanofi, the preclinical stage drug PRN2246 accesses the brain and spinal cord by moving past the blood-brain barrier to affect immune cell and signaling of brain cells.

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The deal also gives Principia Biopharma the option to co-finance phase three development of the multiple sclerosis drug candidate. In return, the biotechnology company will be entitled to gain on increased royalties on worldwide sales of products or a profit and loss sharing arrangement pertained to the US.

Martin Babler, the CEO of Principia Biopharma on the offer bagged by the company’s multiple sclerosis drug candidate, said: “Sanofi is an ideal partner for PRN2246. The agreement allows Principia to maximize the BTK opportunity in neurology with a strong partner for PRN2246 while focusing internal resources on our lead BTK inhibitor in another therapeutic area.

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“PRN2246 is a blood brain barrier crossing, highly potent BTK inhibitor, that we believe is especially well suited for the treatment of MS and other neurological disorders.”

The license deal for the multiple sclerosis drug candidate PRN2246 will be finalized in the fourth quarter of this year should it go past the customary regulatory approvals.

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