Evotec and Sanofi are in exclusive negotiations to create an infectious disease open innovation research and development (R&D) platform through a new open innovation platform near Lyon in France.
The platform will be led by Evotec for which Sanofi will license more than ten of its infectious disease research and early-stage development portfolio.
Evotec will run the open innovation platform near Lyon, France.
Sanofi will also transfer its infectious disease research unit to Evotec as part of the proposed transaction. The French pharma company’s vaccine R&D unit and associated projects will not be included in the transaction.
Evotec will combine its expertise in drug discovery and development with the new assets and experts from Sanofi to expand and speed up discovery and development of anti-infective drugs.
The platform will be open for collaborations with other pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, academia, foundations, and government agencies.
Evotec will expand its current initiatives to accelerate R&D of novel anti-infectives. The focus of drug discovery will initially be on new mode-of-action antimicrobials.
Sanofi global R&D president Elias Zerhouni said: “Research in the field of anti-infectives is an area where building critical mass through partnering is particularly important. This new French based open innovation center will benefit from the high quality science ecosystem.
“Evotec is a trusted partner in drug discovery and has the ambition and capacity to become a real leader in the fight against infectious diseases.”
As per the terms of the partnership, Evotec will receive an initial, upfront payment of €60m from Sanofi which will also give additional long-term funding for the development of the portfolio.
Sanofi will retain certain option rights on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of the anti-infective drugs. It will also continue to be engaged in making drugs for infectious disease with the help of its vaccines research and development and its global health programs.
Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler said: “We are pleased to be working and expanding our strategic relationship with Sanofi, which has a long history in providing novel anti-infective agents to markets globally.
“Finding a way to motivate more public funding and academic initiatives for the progress of novel anti-infectives on Evotecs´platform will be a key success factor for this initiative.”
The deal is expected to be closed in the first half of this year, after signing of definitive agreements and conclusion of the appropriate social process.
In another development, Sanofi has completed its $11.6bn acquisition of US-based biotechnology firm Bioverativ.
Image: Sanofi headquarters in Paris, France. Photo: courtesy of Sanofi.