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Sanofi and IGM Biosciences team up to develop antibody agonists

Collaboration will involve the development of new class IgM antibodies with a view to gaining market approval

Sanofi and IGM have announced the signing of a collaboration agreement to create, develop, manufacture and commercialise IgM antibody agonists against three oncology and three immunology/inflammation targets.

Engineered IgM antibodies represent a new class of potential therapeutics that combine the multi-valency of IgM antibodies, which possess ten binding sites, compared to conventional IgG antibodies, which have only two target binding sites.

Under the terms of the collaboration, IGM will receive a $150m upfront payment and, for each oncology target collaboration programme, IGM will lead research and development activities. Following receipt of the first marketing approval for a product directed to an oncology target, Sanofi will lead all subsequent development and commercialisation activities for that oncology target.

John Reed, Global Head of Research and Development at Sanofi, said: “We look forward to this collaboration with IGM Biosciences, a pioneer in a new class of antibody medicines for the treatment of cancer, immunology, and inflammatory diseases.

“The IGM Biosciences technology platform offers an exciting approach to developing high-avidity IgM antibodies that can efficiently bind and stimulate the activity of cell surface receptors. This unique platform has the potential to overcome historical limitations of conventional IgG antibodies when seeking agonists of some classes of receptors,” he added.

Fred Schwarzer, CEO of IGM Biosciences, commented: “Sanofi is a global leader in the development and commercialisation of innovative therapies, and we welcome the addition of their extensive expertise and resources in expanding and accelerating the development of our IgM antibody platform across multiple areas of high unmet need. This partnership builds on an existing research collaboration with Sanofi and is a key step towards our goal of unlocking the full breadth of potential for this important new class of therapeutics.”