After a run of successful therapeutic antibodies, including a potential blockbuster, Regeneron says it will divorce Sanofi at the end of the year.

“The company’s antibody discovery agreement with Sanofi will end on December 31, 2017, without any extension,” says Regeneron’s half year report. No explanation for the divorce was given, and it wasn’t even mentioned in Sanofi’s half year report.

Originally inked in 2007, the deal has had some notable successes, namely Praluent, Kevzara, and Dupixent, all of which discovered and initially developed under antibody deal. Kevzara (anti-IL-6R) and Dupixent (anti-LR-4R) were both recently approved, for rheumatoid arthritis and atopic dermatitis respectively. Though it’s facing stiff legal opposition from Amgen, Praluent has been delivering promising results in Phase III.

The expiration date of the collaboration was set for 2012, but Sanofi and Regeneron opted to extend it in 2010. Up until that point, Sanofi had been shelling out $100M per year, and after the extension, the amount increased to $160M; Sanofi’s total investment in Regeneron now stands at €10.2B, and the French pharma’s equity interest stands at 22.1%. Despite counting with such a large stake, no buyout has been triggered.

Sanofi Regeneron divorce

As for the assets, Praluent, Kevzara, and Dupixent, as well as REGN3500, will all “continue to be developed, and commercialized as applicable, with Sanofi under the Antibody License and Collaboration Agreement.” For the others, Regeneron plans to retake “the right to develop or continue to develop other product candidates discovered under this agreement independently or with other collaborators.” Poor Sanofi, rebuffed for the third time in the past year: it bungled both the Actelion and Medivation acquisitions, losing out to J&J and Pfizer.

Though 2018 marks the end of the road for its antibody collaboration with Regneron, Sanofi has a separate one in immuno-oncology with its American partner scheduled to continue through 2020. A Regeneron spokesperson told FierceBiotech, “I imagine there will be a mix of ongoing collaborations, new collaborations and independent development depending on the compound (just as we have now),” dodging an explanation for why this one would not be extended. Hopefully the French pharma will seize the opportunity to prove its worth as a partner in this one.


Images via zimmytws, Lightspring / shutterstock.com

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