Sanofi and Regeneron boost investment in immunotherapies

Sanofi and Regeneron are boosting their investment in development programmes for the PD-1 antibody cemiplimab in oncology and dupilumab in Type 2 (tissue specific) allergic diseases by around $1 billion more than the sum originally agreed by the two companies in 2015. The total investmen will now amount to $1.64 billion, asSanofi and Regeneron continue to equally fund the drug’s development.

The additional investment follows data from a pivotal Phase II study, which demonstrated an overall response rate of 46.3% in patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. It will enable the companies to accelerate planned new studies in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peanut allergy and grass allergy, as well as in patients who have multiple allergic conditions.

Cemiplimab is being assessed as monotherapy and in combination with other therapies across a range of cancers, with US and EU regulatory applications for the drug in advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma expected first (in early 2018). The drug is already being developed for paediatric atopic dermatitis, paediatric asthma, eosinophilic esophagitis and nasal polyposis, and has been approved under the trade name Dupixent for adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in the US and EU. The firms also said they submitted a US supplemental biologics license application for uncontrolled, persistent asthma for patients aged 12 and over in the fourth quarter of 2017, potentially expanding its reach.

Development of the IL-33 antibody REGN3500 is also to be accelerated, with studies in atopic dermatitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on the cards, the firms noted.

“The ongoing collaboration between Sanofi and Regeneron underscores our commitment to partnering in the development of medicines to treat significant unmet medical needs,” said Elias Zerhouni, global Head of R&D at Sanofi. “The expansion of these clinical programs for both cemiplimab and dupilumab should enable us to quickly identify treatment opportunities in other disease areas.”