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Selecta to discover food allergy drugs for Sanofi

28-Nov-2012
Last updated on 28-Nov-2012 at 14:25 GMT

Selecta Biosciences will provide Sanofi with discovery services in a deal that could be worth up to $900m.

The Massachusetts, US firm will identify candidate immunotherapies for life-threatening food allergies from a compound library created using its synthetic vaccine particle (SVP) platform.

The SVP technology is used to make nanoparticles that produce immune tolerance by balancing the overactive response to specific antigens.

Sanofi will have an exclusive license to develop one of the identified compounds into an immunotherapy against a life threatening food allergen and an option on two additional candidates for allergies to specific foods or aeroallergens.

For this access Selecta is eligible to receive several pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and sales milestones totalling $300m per allergen indication for up to three immunotherapy candidates contemplated by this collaboration.

Selecta CEO Werner Cauteels said: “We are very pleased that Sanofi, a global leader in vaccines and immunology is entering into a partnership with Selecta to develop and commercialize products from our immunotherapy platform.”

In allergies, as well as auto-immune diseases, organ transplantation, and protein replacement therapies, there is a lack of specific, effective and safe treatments to prevent undesired immune reactions.

Cauteels explained that the firm’s SVP technology is designed to restore balance to immune systems by producing immune tolerance to specific antigens.

Our approach addresses the underlying causes of these diseases and thereby makes advances beyond today’s symptomatic treatments and allergen avoidance strategies.”

Big Pharma

While Sanofi’s collaboration with Selecta has a very different focus from other discovery pacts recently signed by Big Pharma rivals, it does share the similarity that it grants the firm access to several compounds and a discovery platform.

Earlier this month for example Bristol-Myers Squib and GSK both signed deals with US services firm Chiromics to access compounds identified using its organocatalysis technology.

Similarly, Novartis further cemented its relationship with antibody technology firm MorphoSys by signing an extension that granted it access to additional compound libraries identified by the German firm using its genetic engineering platforms.

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