The deal centers around Kiadis’ K-NK004 program, which is a CD38 knockout K-NK therapeutic for use in combination with anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies.
Sanofi has agreed a deal with Kiadis to investigate its delivery alongside Sarclisa (isatuximab), currently approved in the US and Europe to treat adult patients with multiple myeloma who have previously received two therapies.
In return for being able to utilize K-NK004, as well as having the exclusive rights to Kiadis’ K-NK platform to develop two preclinical programs, Sanofi will pay Kiadis €17.5m ($19.8m) upfront. Also included is the potential to receive up to €857.5m in further milestone payments.
The premise behind using K-NK004 alongside Sarclisa lies in the fact that Sanofi’s monoclonal antibody kills off the patients’ natural killer (NK) cells, as they also express CD38 that the treatment targets in tumors.
However, Kiadis’ potential treatment are NK cells that have been modified to prevent the expression of CD38 and therefore the drug candidate is being investigated for its ability to improve the efficacy of Sarclisa.
Sanofi will gain exclusive rights to research, develop and commercialize K-NK004 in combination with CD38-targetting molecules for multiple myeloma and other CD38-positive blood cancers.
The company should have no trouble finding the funds to support the deal, should the program successfully hit its milestone, after Sanofi chose to sell approximately $13bn of shares in Regeneron in May.