Sanofi has entered a deal valued at more than $1bn with US-based Denali Therapeutics to advance potential drug candidates for the treatment of neurological and systemic inflammatory diseases.
DNL747 and DNL758 are two of the several molecules to be developed by the partners.
The drug candidates are designed to target the receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) in the TNF receptor pathway associated with inflammation and cell death.
DNL747 will be evaluated in multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and DNL758 to treat systemic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
At present, DNL747 is undergoing Phase I clinical trials. Phase Ib trials are being planned for patients with Alzheimer’s or ALS.
Denali will conduct the Phase II Alzheimer’s studies, while Sanofi will be responsible for the Phase II trials in MS and ALS, as well as future Phase III trials for all neurological indications.
DNL758 is set to enter clinical trials next year; Sanofi will lead the studies for all types of systemic inflammatory diseases.
Sanofi Rare and Neurologic Diseases Research global head Rita Balice-Gordon said: “This collaboration with Denali is yet another example of Sanofi’s commitment to accelerate the development of transformative and best-in-class treatments for patients living with serious illnesses.
“We look forward to working with Denali on the RIPK1 programme as we explore the potential of this mechanism in neurologic and inflammatory diseases.”
As part of the deal, Sanofi will pay $125m upfront to Denali Therapeutics, along with future development and commercial milestone payments worth more than $1bn.
The commercial profits and losses relating to DNL747 in the US and China will be equally shared by the partners. Denali will receive a royalty on DNL747 for other territories and for DNL758 globally.