Sanofi nanobody drug first approved to treat rare blood disorder

By Ben Hargreaves contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Design Cells)
(Image: Getty/Design Cells)

Related tags: Sanofi, Ablynx, Nanobodies, Cablivi

A year after Sanofi acquired nanobody producer, Ablynx, the deal has achieved its first success, with the US FDA approval of Cablivi.

Sanofi’s Cablivi (caplacizumab-yhdp) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to become the first targeted treatment for adult patients with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP). The condition is a rare condition that can lead to life-threatening blood clotting.

The treatment will be used in conjunction with plasma exchange and immunosuppression for the condition that can arise from conditions such as cancer, HIV, pregnancy, or infections.

Olivier Brandicourt CEO of Sanofi, “Cablivi marks the first US approval in our newly formed rare blood disorders franchise, and we look forward to continuing to provide important medicines for people living with these very serious diseases.”

The drug is part of Sanofi’s acquired portfolio of antibodies that are smaller than conventional antibodies, derived from the Camelidae group of animals that includes camels and llamas. According to Sanofi​, nanobodies are approximately 1/10 the size of antibodies.

The smaller size gives the antibodies an advantage in targeting conditions that are not possible to with standard antibodies, as they be combined in a single drug molecule to target several disease-causing targets.

In addition, Sanofi suggests that nanobodies “can be easily and quickly produced”.

Almost exactly a year ago​, Sanofi picked up the portfolio of nanobodies from its €3.9bn ($4.8bn) deal to acquire Ablynx.

Though the deal has produced results immediately for Sanofi, the deal had looked unlikely just weeks prior to its conclusion. Novo Nordisk had been keen to purchase nanobody technology, making repeated efforts​ to acquire the company but failing to win over Ablynx’s leadership – allowing Sanofi to swoop.

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