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UK company C4X Discovery has agreed an exclusive licensing deal with Sanofi worth a potential €414 million ($493 million), which will see the French pharmaceutical company develop anti-inflammatory therapies.
Most of the potential windfall for C4X is based on development, regulatory, and commercialisation milestones, with the UK company receiving €7 million upfront. The deal also includes €11 million in potential pre-clinical milestone payments.
The agreement gives Sanofi exclusive access to C4X’s IL-17A inhibitor programme. IL-17 cytokines are “strong inducers of inflammation” and linked to autoimmune diseases including psoriasis, the UK company said. Sanofi will look to develop oral small-molecule treatments for such conditions based on C4X’s IL-17 inhibitors, providing an alternative to available antibody drugs, which are administered via an injection.
“We are proud to be working with Sanofi to create much needed oral therapies in the underserved inflammatory disease space. While antibody therapies have demonstrated the potential of IL-17 inhibition in the generation of highly effective treatments, the injectable route means many patients currently do not have access to the medicines that can change their lives,” said Clive Dix, C4X CEO.
“We believe that our small molecule programme has the potential to create high value, efficacious and convenient oral IL-17 therapeutics for this large market,” Dix added.
The C4X CEO, who also serves as chair of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, described the Sanofi deal as the “second significant agreement for a C4XD programme”, and a “major milestone” for the company.
In 2018, C4X agreed an exclusive licensing deal with Indivior, which is currently developing a molecule to treat opioid addiction using C4X’s programme. The drug candidate is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial.
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Sanofi, C4X Discovery, Clive Dix, Indivior, licensing, IL-17 inhibitors, inflammation, opioids