Sanofi shells out $1.1bn for immunology MAb maker Kymab

Sanofi will gain global rights to KY1005 and a monoclonal antibody discovery and development platform through the addition of Kymab.

French pharma giant Sanofi is paying $1.1 billion upfront for Cambridge, UK-based biotech Kymab with a further $350 million depending on potential milestones.

The deal brings the fully humanized monoclonal antibody KY1005 to Sanofi’s pipeline, along with four other early clinical and preclinical candidates.

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According to the firm, the candidate targets immune system regulator OX40-Ligand, “blocking inappropriate activation and proliferation of pro-inflammatory effector T cells and promoting expansion of ‘anti-inflammatory’ regulatory T cells, without broad suppression of the immune system.”

KY1005 is in Phase IIa trials for atopic dermatitis but has the potential to treat a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases and inflammatory disorders due to its mechanism of action.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO, said the candidate is “a potential first-in-class treatment for a range of immune and inflammatory diseases,” and “the novel mechanism of action may provide treatment for patients with suboptimal responses to available therapies.”

John Reed, Sanofi’s global head of R&D, added: “This acquisition aligns with our strategy of targeting fundamentally important disease pathways.  We believe that OX40L, a key immune regulator, has the potential to rebalance the immune system without suppressing it, providing a promising new approach to treating a range of immune-mediated diseases.”

KY1005, along with KY1004, a monoclonal antibody in Phase I/II trials for solid tumors, was developed using Kymab’s IntelliSelect platforms. The tech includes engineered strains of mice that have the complete constellation of human antibody building blocks in their genome designed to produce fully human antibodies. The platform also boasts screening technology combining single-cell sequencing, genomics and proprietary bioinformatic algorithms to prioritize and select antibodies.

Kymab is the fourth billion-dollar-plus acquisition for Sanofi in the past 12 months aimed at filling its immuno-oncology pipeline. In November, the firm spent $358 million buying allogeneic NK-cell based therapy developer Kiadis. In August, it bought Principia Biopharma for $3.68. And in January 2020, the firm completed its $2.5 billion acquisition of Synthorx.