Sanofi has agreed to buy U.K. monoclonal antibody developer Kymab in a deal worth as much as $1.45 billion to gain experimental medicines for inflammation diseases as well as cancer.
The French drugmaker will obtain global rights to KY1005, a human monoclonal antibody with a new mechanism of action and the potential to treat a variety of disorders, the Paris-based company said in a statement.
Sanofi has been hunting for acquisitions to bolster its pipeline, and the deal continues the company’s pivot toward treatments targeting the immune system. The Kymab agreement comes after Sanofi agreed to spend $3.4 billion for U.S. biotech company Principia Biopharma Inc., which developed a pipeline of drugs known as BTK inhibitors to treat autoimmune disorders.
Under the terms of the transaction, Sanofi will pay $1.1 billion upfront and up to $350 million upon achievement of certain milestones. The Paris-based company said it plans to finance the transaction with cash.
Much like Sanofi’s blockbuster Dupixent, Kymab’s KY1005 is starting out by showing results in a severe form of eczema called atopic dermatitis but it may work in a range of inflammatory ailments.
The drug has the potential to re-balance the immune system without suppressing it, Sanofi said. For now, the medicine has showed it works better than a placebo in controlling atopic dermatitis in the intermediate stage of clinical trials.
With the purchase of Cambridge, England-based Kymab, Sanofi will also gain an experimental monoclonal antibody cancer treatment that’s in early clinical trials as a monotherapy and in combination with an immuno-therapy as well as access to new antibody technologies and research capabilities.