Synthorx’s immuno-oncology product candidate THOR-707 is expected to strengthen Sanofi’s immuno-oncology pipeline


Sanofi to acquire Synthorx to boost immuno-oncology pipeline (Credit: Pixabay)

Sanofi has signed an agreement to acquire Synthorx, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, for an average equity value of around $2.5bn.

Sanofi said that the acquisition complements its aim to advance innovation and develop a portfolio of high-quality assets, and is in line with its plans to build an oncology franchise.

Synthorx focuses on prolonging and improving the lives of people suffering from cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The company develops an expanded genetic alphabet platform technology that expands the genetic code by adding a new DNA base pair and is intended to create optimised biologics, dubbed Synthorins.

Its top immuno-oncology product candidate THOR-707, a variant of interleukin-2 (IL-2), is currently under clinical development in multiple solid tumour types, as a single agent and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Synthorx president and chief executive officer Laura Shawver said: “We are grateful that Sanofi has acknowledged the value of our Expanded Genetic Alphabet platform and the potential of our pipeline of optimized therapeutics for cancer and autoimmune disorders.

“Importantly, Sanofi has a portfolio of therapeutics that holds incredible promise for combining with our cytokine Synthorins to benefit patients around the world. I want to thank our employees and the Sanofi organization for their relentless efforts on behalf of patients.”

The assets acquired from Synthorx will strengthen Sanofi’s immuno-oncology pipeline

Sanofi claimed that THOR-707 will become the top IL-2 therapeutic for solid tumours, with improved pharmacology, less dosing, and therapeutic superiority, compared to other IL-2 compounds.

Also, THOR-707 and other earlier-stage cytokine programs acquired from Synthorx will enhance its position in oncology and immuno-oncology pipeline.

Furthermore, IL-2 is expected to become a foundation for the company’s future IO-IO combinations, and offer multiple combination opportunities with its oncology assets, including PD-1, CD-38, and molecules that modulate effector T-cells and natural killer cells.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions, and it intends to finance the transaction with cash on hand.

Sanofi research and development global head John Reed said: “Synthorx’s exceptionally novel discovery platform has already produced a molecule that has the potential to become a foundation of the next generation of immuno-oncology combination therapies.

“By selectively expanding the numbers of effector T-cells and natural killer cells in the body, THOR-707 can be combined with our current oncology medicines and our emerging pipeline of immuno-modulatory agents for treating cancer.

“Moreover, Synthorx’s pipeline of engineered lymphokines has great promise not only for oncology but also for addressing many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.”