Sanofi-Aventis and Exelixis have signed a global licencing agreement for two novel oncology therapies and have also formed an exclusive collaboration for the discovery of phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitors.

Under the agreement, Sanofi-Aventis will have a worldwide licence to XL147, an oral PI3K inhibitor, and XL765, an oral dual inhibitor of PI3K and mTOR.

The compounds are in phase I clinical trials.

Sanofi-Aventis senior vice president of research and development Marc Cluzel said that the company was excited about integrating novel targeted therapies with high therapeutic potential in the portfolio.

“We look forward to combining our efforts with Exelixis to develop innovative drugs in the best interest of patients suffering from cancers. This alliance is aligned with our strategy to create value through strategic partnerships that deliver new therapeutic options,” said Cluzel.

Sanofi-Aventis will have sole responsibility for all subsequent clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial activities. Exelixis will participate in ongoing and potential future clinical trials.

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The two companies will also join research efforts to establish several preclinical programmes related to isoform selective inhibitors of PI3K.

Sanofi-Aventis will pay Exelixis cash payment as well as development and milestone payments that could reach over $1bn for existing and future programmes.