Ablynx partners with Sanofi to develop treatments for inflammatory diseases
Ablynx has announced that it has entered a research partnership and licensing agreement with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi to develop Nanobody-based therapeutics for the treatment of various immune mediated inflammatory diseases. To date, Ablynx has over 45 programmes in the development of treatments within inflammation, haematology, immuno-oncology, oncology and respiratory diseases.
The partnership gives Sanofi access to certain Nanobodies in the biopharmaceutical company’s existing portfolio, as well its scientists and proprietary Nanobody platform. The company was the first to develop a vaccine for the dengue virus, Dengvaxia, and has strenuously worked to provide vaccination campaigns worldwide.
Through this new partnership, partnership, Sanofi will also gain exclusive global rights to certain multi-specific Nanobodies against selected targets, with options for similar rights to additional targets, for a total of eight potential Nanobody product candidates.
“This collaboration is the latest example of Sanofi’s strategic commitment to expand our drug discovery pipeline in immunology at a time when we are launching new treatments for atopic dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis,” commented Frank Nestle, MD, Sanofi’s Global Head of Immunology Therapeutic Research Area and Chief Scientific Officer, North America.
“We are particularly excited by the Ablynx technology as a leading biologics platform, enabling the development of transformative multi-targeting treatment approaches.”
The financial terms include an upfront payment of €23 million to Ablynx, comprised of license and option fees. Ablynx will receive approximately €8 million research funding for the initially selected targets. Sanofi will also pay Ablynx further option exercise fees and research funding.
Sanofi will be responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any products resulting from this agreement, and Ablynx will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to €2.4 billion, plus tiered royalties up to low double digits on the net sales of any products originating from the collaboration.
NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance
A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England.
Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year.
The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time.
From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.
Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction.
Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.
The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years.
If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”