Sanofi Partners for Insulin Analogues
Sanofi and Thermalin, a Cleveland, Ohio-headquartered biotechnology company, have partnered to discover and develop engineered insulin analogues.
The collaboration could generate for Thermalin up to $788 million in equity investments, milestone payments, and research-and-development services, of which $9 million has already been received as an upfront licensing fee and an initial equity investment. In addition, Sanofi will assume the clinical development costs of these insulin programs and pay royalties on commercial sales of products. Thermalin will use the new funds to expand its research and development team in Cleveland and will be recruiting from around the midwest and elsewhere.
Thermalin also announced the first closing of a tranched, Series A Preferred financing that will raise at least $17.5 million to support the advancement of Thermalin’s programs. The round is being led by Sanofi, with participation by JSR mblVC LifeScience Investment Limited Partnership (a Tokyo-based fund), Green Park & Golf Ventures (a Dallas, Texas-based fund), Thermalin’s existing investors, and other undisclosed investors.
The collaboration with Sanofi encompasses two Thermalin programs. The collaboration is an outgrowth of Sanofi’s Sunrise initiative, a strategic-partnership model that seeks to invest in early-stage opportunities that align with Sanofi’s research, development, and commercialization skills.
Diabetes is Sanofi’s largest product franchise led by its-top-selling product, Lantus (insulin-glargine), which had 2016 sales of EUR 5.71 billion ($6.66 billion) and which now faces generic competition. Key for Sanofi going forward is new product development in its diabetes franchise, which includes Toujeo, a next-generation long-acting insulin, to offset generic competition of Lantus.