Sanofi to close Principia's San Francisco labs

Sept. 16, 2021

After a major drug trial failure, Sanofi has decided to close Principia Biopharma's San Francisco labs.

Sanofi acquired South San Francisco-based Principia back in 2020 for $3.68 billion — an acquisition still being criticized by analysts. 

The acquisition of Principia was largely made around their Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors. BTK is found in the signaling pathways of key innate and adaptive cell types in the immune system. Inhibiting or blocking these pathways has the potential of halting inflammation and tissue damage caused by autoimmune diseases.  

But on Sept. 9, Principia announced that a trial of its BTK inhibitor rilzabrutinib for pemphigus (a rare, debilitating autoimmune disorder that results in blisters on the skin and mucous membranes) failed to meet primary or key secondary endpoints.

Now, according to a California WARN notice, Sanofi is closing Principia’s laboratories — a move that will axe about three dozen employees. A Sanofi spokesperson commented that the closure will be in effect as of Oct. 8 and the company will be re-evaluating their plan for the South San Francisco location. The labs are to be completely vacated by April 2022.