Sanofi and California-based cytokine therapeutics company Synthekine have inked a partnership to jointly develop IL-10 receptor agonists for treating inflammatory diseases.
The agreement includes a $40 million upfront payment to Synthekine from Sanofi, with potential additional payments tied to preclinical, development, regulatory and commercial milestones. Synthekine will also receive tiered royalties on net sales.
IL-10, a crucial immune-regulatory cytokine, has faced challenges in clinical studies due to dose-limiting toxicity. Synthekine aims to overcome these hurdles by engineering IL-10 to selectively target immunosuppressive activity while minimizing immunostimulatory effects.
The partnership leverages Synthekine's expertise in targeted cytokine engineering, utilizing both its cytokine partial agonist platform and surrogate cytokine agonist platform.
The collaboration involves joint research activities up to a defined preclinical development stage, after which Sanofi will take the lead in subsequent preclinical, clinical and commercial activities for IL-10 therapeutics.
Sanofi invested big in the IL therapies space in late 2019, when it paid $2.5 billion to acquire Synthorx and its lead immuno-oncology product candidate, an IL-2 therapeutic for the treatment of solid tumors. Last week, Sanofi's blockbuster IL-4 receptor alpha antagonist, Dupixent, secured FDA approval as the first and only medication in the U.S. available for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis in pediatric patients aged 1 to 11 years.