Sanofi and IGM Biosciences have entered an exclusive global partnership agreement for the creation, development, production, and commercialisation of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody agonists for oncology, immunology, and inflammation targets.

The alliance will use the IgM antibody technology platform for detecting agonists against three targets in oncology, and three in immunology/inflammation.

Engineered IgM antibodies are a new class of potential therapies that merge the multi-valency of IgM antibodies with ten binding sites.

As per the deal, IGM is entitled to get an upfront payment of $150m, and a total of more than $6bn payment on meeting various development, regulatory, and commercial milestones from Sanofi.

Sanofi also intends to buy IGM’s non-voting common stock for up to $100m in public funding.

IGM will oversee the research and development works for each of the oncology targets under the partnership. 

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The company will also handle the associated expenses until the first biologics license application (BLA) approval for a product from the Food and Drug Administration, or the European Medicines Agency.

In this regard, Sanofi will make development and regulatory milestone payments of up to $940m to IGM for each oncology target. 

Sanofi will lead complete development and marketing operations for that oncology target on obtaining the first marketing approval for a product for treating cancer. 

IGM and Sanofi will split profits equally in some key markets while IGM will get tiered royalty payments on net product sales in other markets globally.

GM will also oversee the research and development works for each immunology/inflammation target collaboration programme. 

It will also manage the associated expenditures until the conclusion of the Phase I trial of up to two constructs for each immunology/inflammation target.

Sanofi will make development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments totalling up to $1,065m for each target in immunology/inflammation. 

The company will take over the further development, marketing, and linked expenses.

For these targets, tiered royalty payments on worldwide net product sales will be made to IGM by Sanofi.

Sanofi Research and Development global head John Reed said: “The IGM Biosciences technology platform offers an exciting approach to developing high-avidity IgM antibodies that can efficiently bind and stimulate the activity of cell surface receptors. 

“This unique platform has the potential to overcome historical limitations of conventional IgG antibodies when seeking agonists of some classes of receptors.”

The latest development comes after Sanofi and Adagene signed a collaboration and exclusive licence agreement for developing masked monoclonal and bispecific antibodies.