Sanofi, Evotec in Diabetes Pact
Sanofi and Evotec AG , a drug discovery and development company, have formed a strategic collaboration in the field of diabetes. The goal of this collaboration will be to develop a beta cell- replacement therapy based on functional human beta cells derived from human stem cells. In addition, Sanofi and Evotec will also use human beta cells for high-throughput drug screening to identify beta cell active small molecules or biologics.
Both companies will contributeexpertise, platforms, and resources. The collaboration will further enhance and complement Sanofi’s diabetes portfolio and will extend Evotec’s metabolic disease and stem cell-based drug discovery programs. The agreement between Evotec and Sanofi triggers an upfront payment of EUR 3 million ($3.29 million), potential preclinical, clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones that could total more than EUR 300 million ($329 million) as well as significant royalties and research payments.
Beta cells play arole in the pathogenesis of diabetes. Beta cells reside in clusters of hormone-producing cells (i.e.,islets”) within the pancreas. They respond to elevated blood glucose levels by secreting the glucose-lowering hormone insulin. In Type 1 diabetes, beta cells are destroyed by the patient’s own immune system. In Type 2 diabetes, beta cells are functionally impaired and may work in the presence of metabolic stress and increased work load due to an impaired tissue insulin response.