Partnering News: Sanofi, GSK, Merck KGaA & More

A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from Sanofi/Scribe Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline/Spero Therapeutics, Merck KGaA/Nerviano Medical Sciences, and Novo Nordisk/Octagon Therapeutics.

* Sanofi, Scribe Therapeutics in $1-Bn CRISPR Drug Pact
* GSK, Spero Therapeutics in $600-M Antibiotics Deal
* Merck KGaA, Nerviano Partner for Brain Cancer Drug
* Novo Nordisk, Octagon Therapeutics in Inflammatory Disease Research Pact

Sanofi, Scribe Therapeutics in $1-Bn CRISPR Drug Pact
Sanofi and Scribe Therapeutics, an Alameda, California-based molecular engineering company, have entered a strategic collaboration for the use of Scribe’s CRISPR genome-editing technologies to enable genetic modification of natural killer (NK) cell therapies for cancer in a deal worth up to $1 billion ($25 million upfront and $1 billion in milestone payments). The agreement grants Sanofi non-exclusive rights to Scribe’s proprietary CRISPR platform of wholly owned enzymes to create ex vivo NK cell therapies.

Under the agreement, Scribe will receive $25 million in upfront payment and be eligible to potentially receive more than $1 billion in payments based on development and commercial milestones as well as tiered royalties on net future sales on any products that may result from this research agreement.

Source: Scribe Therapeutics

GSK, Spero Therapeutics in $600-M Antibiotics Deal
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Spero Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have entered into an exclusive license agreement for Spero’s tebipenem pivoxil hydrobromide (tebipenem HBr), a late-stage antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections, in a deal worth up to $600 million ($9-million equity stake, $66 million upfront, and $525 million in milestone payments).

Under the agreement, GSK will receive an exclusive license to develop and commercialize tebipenem pivoxil HBr in all countries except Japan and certain other Asian countries that Spero’s partner, Meiji Seika, a Tokyo-based bio/pharmaceutical company of antibacterial drugs, will retain. Spero will be responsible for the execution and costs of the remaining Phase III clinical trial of tebipenem HBr. GSK will be responsible for the execution and costs of additional clinical development, including regulatory submission and commercialization activities for tebipenem HBr in the aforementioned countries.

Under the agreement, GSK will make an upfront initial payment to Spero of $66 million to secure rights to the medicine, make potential milestone payments totaling $525 million, and take a 19.99% equity stake in Spero for $9 million. Spero will also receive low-single digit to low-double digit (if sales exceed $1 billion) tiered royalties on net product sales.

The transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The closing of the equity investment is conditioned upon the effectiveness of the license following Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance.

Source: GlaxoSmithKline

Merck KGaA, Nerviano Partner for Brain Cancer Drug
Merck KGaA and Nerviano Medical Sciences, a Nerviano (Milan), Italy-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have entered a collaboration agreement with licensing option for Nerviano’s NMS-293, an anti-cancer drug in early development for treating recurrent glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

NMS-293 is in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA-mutated tumors as a single agent and in combination with temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma. NMS-293 is a PARP1 (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase) inhibitor. PARP is key in the repair of DNA1damage, and PARP inhibitors have been shown to be efficacious in treating tumors deficient in homologous recombination repair, such as breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers with BRCA-mutations, according to information from Merck KGaA

Under the agreement, Merck KGaA will make early payments (up-front and option exercise fees) of up to $65 million to Nerviano. In addition, NMS will receive certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones payments and tiered royalties on net sales. Upon exercise of the option, Nerviano will grant Merck KGaA the exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize NMS-293. During the option period, the companies will collaborate on the clinical development of NMS-293, with Nerviano designing, sponsoring, conducting, and funding global clinical trials.

Source: Merck KGaA

Novo Nordisk, Octagon Therapeutics in Inflammatory Disease Research Pact
Novo Nordisk and Octagon Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based preclinical-stage bio/pharmaceutical company developing medicines for autoimmune disease, have initiated a research collaboration focused on inflammatory disease. The multi-year relationship will apply Octagon’s functional target discovery approach and chemistry strategy in disease areas in which Novo Nordisk has expertise.

Octagon’s lead program selectively targets a population of pathologically activated B cells that contribute to autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus and vasculitis. A pilot project, through the Novo Nordisk Co-creation Greenhouse accelerator program, demonstrated proof-of-concept in identifying atypical characteristics of other immune cells during disease, leading to the discovery of new therapeutic targets.

Source: Octagon Therapeutics