Sanofi to buy Amunix for $1bn

Sanofi has entered into a $1 billion agreement to acquire immuno-oncology firm Amunix Pharmaceuticals.

Sanofi said the decision to buy Amunix for an upfront payment of approximately $1 billion and up to $225 million upon achieving specific milestones, supports its plan to increase its contributions to medicines for oncology patients.

The French pharma giant will gain Amunix’ propriety technology. This includes its XTEN masking technology platform, Pro-XTEN to identify and develop transformative T-cell engagers (TCE) and cytokine therapies for individuals with cancer.

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“The technology is very well suited to complement Sanofi’s existing biologics modalities […] We are very interested in exploring the mask and linker technologies to several of pre-clinical platforms such as nanobody VHHs, as well as fragments of our antibodies, or to cytokines,” a spokesperson for Sanofi told BioProcess Insider.

“The XTEN mask is a polypeptide that serves the dual purpose of providing half-life extension while acting as a mask. The XTEN platform provides a universal and tunable masking approach that acts through spatial shielding.  In contrast to many other approaches, the XTEN mask does not require the customized design of functional binding to the drug. In addition, the half-life extension is associated with the XTEN masking portion, so the pro-drug will be long-lived in circulation, but, once cleaved, the highly potent therapeutic may be cleared after acting on its target, further increasing the potential for improved tolerability.”

Strategic pipeline

According to Sanofi, Amunix’ pipeline and its lead candidate AMX-818 strategically fits with the company’s focus on developing cancer therapies in immuno-oncology. AMX-818, is a masked HER2-directed TCE, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed on various solid tumors including gastric, non-small cell lung, breast, and colorectal cancers.

Sanofi told us it will add 80 employees through the acquisition but will not gain any facilities. The firm anticipates completing the acquisition in the first quarter of 2022, subject to various closing conditions.

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