Sanofi and Warp Drive Bio, a privately held biotechnology company using the molecules and mechanisms of nature to discover and develop transformative medicines, have announced that they have extended and reshaped their existing collaboration utilizing Warp Drive's proprietary SMART(TM) (Small Molecule Assisted Receptor Targeting) and Genome Mining platforms to discover novel oncology therapeutics and antibiotics.
Sanofi, who has been a major investor and strategic partner since Warp Drive's inception in 2012, and Warp Drive have entered into a research collaboration and exclusive license focused on the development of drugs targeting important human oncogenes including RAS, which has one of the highest mutation rates in cancer - and new antibiotics targeting Gram-negative bacteria. Warp Drive Bio retains the rights to deploy its platforms to pursue discovery and development against all other targets, both alone and in collaboration with other companies.
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 expert development and commercialization abilities.
"Our partnership with Warp Drive is a perfect example of open innovation which allows Sanofi to collaborate with innovative companies and combine unique areas of expertise to advance drug development in a meaningful way",said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President, Sanofi, Global R&D. "This is an exciting collaboration for Sanofi as it could yield potentially lifesaving oncology and antibiotic therapies for patients by utilizing cutting-edge technology platforms."
"This reshaped alliance enables joint and independent product development by Warp Drive, an important step in our evolution as we advance a therapeutic pipeline using our proprietary platforms," said Laurence Reid, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Warp Drive Bio. "Since our inception, Sanofi has been highly supportive of our progress and we are very pleased to reshape our strategic collaboration to focus on novel therapeutics in areas of great unmet need."
Under the terms of the Agreement, Warp Drive will lead the research collaboration for a period of five years and Sanofi will receive worldwide exclusive licenses to develop and commercialize the candidates discovered during the research term.
Warp Drive is eligible to receive from Sanofi cumulative payments in excess of $750 million across four successful collaboration programs, including an equity investment by Sanofi, research, clinical, and regulatory milestones, and research and development services.
The companies will initially focus on three defined oncology programs targeting different mutants and states of the RAS oncogenic protein. Warp Drive has the option to lead development of the therapeutic candidates from post IND filing up to phase 2 clinical studies, with Sanofi leading development through the filing of new drug applications. Sanofi will lead global commercial activities on product(s) resulting from the collaboration and Warp Drive has the option to co-commercialize oncology therapeutics in the U.S. market. Sanofi will manage all ex-US commercial activities and Warp Drive will receive commercial milestones and tiered royalties on product sales.
The antibiotic collaboration will focus on the discovery and development of novel Gram-negative therapeutics and Sanofi will lead all development activities. Sanofi will be responsible for global commercialization of the antibiotic products and will pay Warp Drive research, clinical, and regulatory milestones, plus tiered royalties and commercial milestones based on global sales.
A review of Warp Drive's SMART platform and its application to RAS and other important disease targets was discussed in a plenary session at the recent AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics. Warp Drive believes that novel therapeutics targeting RAS will represent a significant advance in the future of oncology drug development. Moreover, creating a new modality for currently undruggable targets by deploying the company's SMART platform has the potential to open up new avenues for additional therapeutics in oncology and other important disease areas.