Based in Cambridge, UK, Kymab was founded in 2010. It develops therapeutics designed to modulate the immune system, to overcome cancer immune tolerance and escape. It is also developing therapeutics designed to treat autoimmune diseases.
Sanofi will pay $1.1bn upfront with up to $350m upon achievements of certain milestones.
Focus on KY1005
Kymab’s most advanced therapeutic is KY1005, which binds to OX40-Ligand and has ‘the potential to treat a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases and inflammatory disorders’. In August 2020, Kymab announced that KY1005 met both primary endpoints in a Phase 2a trial studying moderate to severe atopic dermatitis patients whose disease is inadequately controlled with topical corticosteroids.
Sanofi believes that KY1005's novel mechanism of action could provide treatment for patients with suboptimal responses to available therapies.
Kymab’s pipeline also includes the oncology asset KY1044, an ICOS agonist monoclonal antibody, currently in early Phase 1/2 development as monotherapy and in combination with an anti-PD-L1.
Sanofi says the acquisition will give it access to new antibody technologies and research capabilities.
John Reed, M.D. Ph.D., Global Head of Research & Development at Sanofi, said: “This acquisition aligns with our strategy of targeting fundamentally important disease pathways. We believe that OX40L, a key immune regulator, has the potential to rebalance the immune system without suppressing it, providing a promising new approach to treating a range of immune-mediated diseases.”
The acquisition provides Sanofi with access to new antibody technologies and research capabilities. It is the latest acquisition for the French pharmaceutical giant: which also acquired Dutch biotech Kiadis in November for $375m; US company Principia Biopharma for £3.68bn in August; and California immune-oncology specialist Synthorx for $2.5bn in 2019.