Sanofi, Schrödinger forge up to $120m drug discovery deal

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

Sanofi, Schrödinger forge up to $120m drug discovery deal

Related tags Drug discovery Sanofi

Computational drug designer Schrödinger has entered into a five-year early drug discovery collaboration with Sanofi in which Schrödinger will provide target analysis and validation to lead identification and lead optimization for as many as ten drug discovery programs. 

Schrödinger could receive up to $120m (€109m) under the terms of the relationship that includes preclinical milestones, including validated hits, initiation of lead optimization, nomination of development candidates, and first in human studies, Schrödinger spokeswoman Shi-Yi Liu told

Although computer aided design (CAD) plays a role in industries ranging from airplane design to movie making, CAD is not widely recognized as a truly enabling technology in the field of drug discovery.

Our mission is to transform drug discovery through computational technology, and we will continue to commit the resources necessary to develop compelling scientific solutions​,” said Ramy Farid, Schrödinger’s President.

The collaboration with Sanofi will enable Schrödinger to build off of its scientific breakthroughs in recent years in the areas of protein and ligand structure determination and potency prediction.

Liu added that Schrödinger has also made strides with its ligand-receptor docking program, its method to incorporate protein flexibility as a result of docking, its original method to account for protein desolvation effects, as well as its Free Energy Perturbation (FEP) theory. A paper from a large group of authors from Schrödinger​ and other research institutions say that their implementation of FEP calculations really does lead to a significant number of more active compounds being predicted, according to biotech blogger Derek Lowe​. 

In addition, a new informatics system to facilitate real-time collaboration between computational designers and medicinal chemists will serve as the communications and project management platform for researchers from both companies.

Collaborating with Schrödinger is an effective way for Sanofi to gain access to first rate computational design resources​,” said Elias Zerhouni, President, Global R&D at Sanofi. “In the interest of perpetual innovation, we are constantly looking at cutting-edge technologies to advance our research​.”

The deal follows a €250m drug discovery partnership​ between Sanofi and Evotec, specifically in the field of oncology.

The Sanofi deal is the first that Schrödinger has made since last September, when the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute agreed to provide access to Schrödinger’s materials science, biologics, and small‑molecule drug discovery suites to researchers within its member institutions, which includes Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medical College.

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