This collaboration includes major research and development efforts to advance a first-in-class small molecule approach to treat solid and haematopoietic cancers by enhancing the anti-tumour activity of human lymphocytes. Based on Evotec's technological expertise and Apeiron Biologics' immunological know-how, the collaboration will also focus on the identification of novel small molecule hits and their targets for next-generation therapies in immuno-oncology which are expected to complement the current offerings of checkpoint inhibitors.
In recent years, immuno-oncology has emerged as a particularly promising field to create superior and potentially curative treatment options for many cancer patients.
The collaboration is set up as an initiative to support long-term pipeline building for Evotec, Apeiron Biologics and Sanofi. All three companies will make significant contributions to this collaboration in terms of scientific expertise, technological platforms and resources. The collaboration will further enhance and complement Sanofi's extensive oncology portfolio. It will enable Evotec to enter into the drug discovery area of immuno-oncology and it will substantially support Apeiron Biologics' strategy focusing on novel and innovative checkpoint inhibiting approaches.
The agreement triggers two years of substantial research payments for Evotec and Apeiron Biologics with the opportunity to receive pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones which could total over EUR 200 m as well as royalties upon commercialisation.
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are pleased and proud that the joint efforts in immuno-oncology with Apeiron have led to this partnership with Sanofi. The collaboration is a great example of a most efficient translation from early-stage research to Pharma development."
Dr Hans Loibner, Chief Executive Officer of Apeiron Biologics, commented: "It is great to see that our work, even at an early stage, can attract interest from one of the world's leading, large pharmaceutical companies. We look forward to applying all the different skills and resources bundled in this collaboration for the benefit of this treatment concept and ultimately for the benefit of the patients."
"Immuno-oncology has emerged as a particularly promising field to create potentially curative treatment options for many cancer patients", said Victoria Richon, Vice-President and Head of Cancer Research, Discovery and Early Development for Sanofi. "Our partnership with experts at Evotec and Apeiron Biologics will help us take the next step toward realizing the full value of these innovative treatments."