Sanofi, DiCE Molecules Partner in Small MoleculesBy
Sanofi and DiCE Molecules, a newly launched, privately held company focused on small-molecule drug discovery, have formed a five-year global collaboration to discover potential new therapeutics for up to 12 targets that encompass all disease areas of strategic interest to Sanofi. The collaboration builds upon DiCE’s technology platform, which uses directed evolution to select and optimize low molecular weight compounds against any target. The platform’s capabilities include the potential to unlock protein-protein interfaces that were previously unreachable for oral therapies.
The collaboration encompasses up to 12 discrete targets over the five-year period and provides funding in excess of $50 million in equity, upfront, target exclusivity, technology access fees, and research services, along with up to $184 million in research, clinical, and regulatory milestone payments per target, and royalty payments based on any future annual net sales of each compound developed by Sanofi.
The collaboration is a part of Sanofi’s Sunrise Initiative, a strategic partnership model that seeks to invest in early-stage transformative opportunities that align with Sanofi’s development and commercialization abilities. A joint steering committee comprised of Sanofi and DiCE representatives will oversee the initiative.
DiCE’s technology selects and optimizes drug-like ligands to any given target, beginning with libraries containing billions of individual molecules. DiCE’s technology restores the libraries to their original ligand concentration after each round of screening, revealing the full landscape of binding molecules and allowing them to easily be selected for enhanced potency, selectivity, and drug-like properties through testing with proprietary assays. This approach may address long-standing chemistry issues and would enable monoclonal antibodies to be replaced by orally administered medicines.