Belgian biopharmaceutical company Ablynx has entered a research collaboration and global exclusive licensing agreement with French firm Sanofi to develop and commercialise nanobody-based therapeutics for the treatment of several immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.
The partnership will enable Sanofi to have access to certain nanobodies in Ablynx's existing portfolio, as well as to its scientists and its nanobody platform.
Under the licensing deal, Sanofi will receive exclusive global rights to certain multi-specific nanobodies against selected targets, with options for similar rights to additional targets, for a total of eight potential nanobody product candidates.
Ablynx chief executive officer Dr Edwin Moses said: “This strategically important collaboration further confirms the potential of our nanobody platform and is a unique opportunity for us to work with a world-leader like Sanofi in the development of a new generation of therapeutics for the treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.
“We look forward to exploring the different nanobody target combinations as new and novel therapeutic options for patients suffering from a range of inflammatory diseases.”
The financial terms include an upfront payment, which comprises licence and option fees of €23m to Ablynx.
The company will also receive research funding of approximately €8m for the initially selected targets.
As part of the deal, Sanofi will be responsible for the development, production and commercialisation of any products resulting from the current agreement.
In addition, Ablynx will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to €2.4bn.