Sanofi strikes AI drug discovery deal with BioMap

Oct. 10, 2023

Sanofi, making good on its pledge to go "all in" with AI, has inked a strategic collaboration with BioMap to co-develop AI modules for biotherapeutic drug discovery.

The deal will leverage California-based BioMap’s AI platform which integrates foundational large language models and super-scale computing with biotechnology to discover novel targets and design biologics through a deep understanding of proteins.

“We have built what is essentially a biological map of proteins using data sets from public and private sources to inform our foundational models. Utilizing automation and integrated workflows to enhance the collection of high-quality data, we can catalyze the process of new hit discovery and lead optimization," said Le Song, BioMap’s CTO.

Sanofi will hand BioMap an upfront payment of $10 million, in a deal with the potential to exceed $1 billion.

The French drugmaker has pledged to become the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence, announcing back in June that was launching an AI app called plai. Developed in collaboration with AI platform company Aily Labs, plai will deliver real-time, reactive data interactions and give Sanofi 360-degree views across all its activities. The app collects internal data from various departments and uses AI to offer timely insights and personalized 'what if' scenarios.

Sanofi's recent deal-making has reflected the company's AI push. In late 2021, the drugmaker acquired Amunix Pharmaceuticals, which uses AI to tailor-deliver medicines that become active only in tumor tissues while not harming normal ones. Shortly after, Sanofi inked a potential $5.2 billion deal with Exscientia to use AI-based capabilities to develop novel small molecule candidates across oncology and immunology. Most recently, in November 2022,  Sanofi signed a potential $1.2 billion research collab with AI-driven drug discovery specialist Insilico Medicine to advance drug development candidates for up to six new targets.