Sanofi throws IGM a lifeline

With its undemanding $150m up-front fee Sanofi’s deal with IGM Biosciences might do little to restore investors’ faith in the broad biotech sector, but it does again mark the French group’s willingness to bet on risky ideas. IGM boasts a novel approach, focusing on bispecifics based on the IgM antibody type, but has much still to prove: at Ash in December its lead oncology asset, IGM-2323, showed relatively good safety, but its efficacy was a long way off being competitive. Add to this last year’s shock departure of IGM’s chief medical officer, the highly respected Dan Chen, and IGM’s questionable foray into infectious diseases, and the company looks like it is struggling to find a direction. Notably, Sanofi’s interest is limited to work on IgM antibodies against oncology and immunology/inflammation targets, and not in infectious disease. The deal comes after Sanofi bought into another next-generation oncology antibody approach, taking out Amunix in December. Though the earlier acquisitions of Synthorx and Principia have so far failed to live up to their billing Sanofi continues putting to use the cash it gained from the sale of its Regeneron stake in efforts to restock its R&D pipeline.

Selected Sanofi business development moves
Deal target Date Up front ($m) Lead deal asset Status
IGM Biosciences 29 Mar 2022 150 Discovery Preclinical
ABL Bio 11 Jan 2022 75 ABL301 Preclinical
Amunix* 21 Dec 2021 1,000 AMX-818  Preclinical
Kadmon* 8 Sep 2021 1,900 Rezurock Approved
Translate Bio* 3 Aug 2021 3,200 MRT5500 Phase 1/2
C4X Discovery 12 Apr 2021 8 Anti-IL-17 Preclinical
Tidal Therapeutics* 9 Apr 2021 160 Technology Preclinical
Biond Biologics 12 Jan 2021 125 BND-22 Preclinical
Kymab* 11 Jan 2021 1,100 KY1005  Phase 2
Kiadis* 2 Nov 2020 358 K-NK002 Phase 2
Principia* 17 Aug 2020 3,680 Tolebrutinib  Phase 3
Kymera 9 Jul 2020 150 KT-474 Preclinical
Synthorx* 9 Dec 2019 2,500 Thor-707 Phase 1
Note: *company acquisition; others are licensing deals. Source: Evaluate Pharma.

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