Sanofi’s Amunix acquisition adds to an active year of dealmaking for the French pharma, which has spent more than $6 billion in 2021 to buy Kymab, Tidal Therapeutics, Translate Bioand Kadmon Holdings.
The acquisitive streak is part of a plan by Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson to reenergize the company’s research and development work, particularly in areas like oncology and immunology. Along with Tidal and Amunix, both of which are focused on immuno-oncology, Sanofi has also previously bought cancer biotechs Kiadis Pharma and Synthorx under Hudson’s leadership.
Those deals have helped fill out a cancer drug pipeline that now includes about 20 molecules in development, including several that Sanofi expects could become future top-sellers.
Amunix appears to have drawn Sanofi’s interest for its technology as much as its lead drug candidate, which is aimed at the well-known breast cancer target HER2. Specifically, Amunix is working on what are known as T cell engagers, proteins that link immune cells to cancerous cells, and cytokine-based therapies. READ MORE
By Ned Pagliarulo
Biotechnology startup Ventus Therapeutics is licensing its lead research program, a drug candidate for inflammatory disorders, to Novo Nordisk in exchange for $70 million. The experimental drug, dubbed VENT-01, is a small molecule that targets inflammasomes, which are protein complexes in immune system cells that activate inflammatory responses.
Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.
Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.