Drug Development

I/O enthusiast Servier signs up for an $807M, second wave PD-1 development deal with Sorrento

Sorrento Therapeutics, which is closely aligned with Patrick Soon-Shiong’s network of biotech companies, has struck a deal to partner with France’s Servier on its PD-1 checkpoint program for STI-A1110.

Servier is handing over a $27.5 million upfront to Sorrento $SRNE in the deal while putting $780 million on the table for a full slate of milestones.

For Servier, it’s a chance to start work on its own in-house combination drugs for blood cancers as well as solid tumors. Servier has also been working on CAR-T, adapting T-cells into cancer therapies. And while it’s well behind the pioneers in both checkpoint inhibitors – with three approved for use – and CAR-T, the company still sees a significant niche future for itself in immuno-oncology.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, courtesy of NHS Confederation.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, courtesy of NHS Confederation.

The billionaire biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who’s been known to paint a pretty picture of the market potential for new drugs, has taken a large minority stake in San Diego-based Sorrento.

There are a number of PD-1s and PD-L1s still going into the clinic. AstraZeneca has the fourth program lining up for an OK, and Pfizer is working with Merck KGaA on a possible fifth. Servier, meanwhile, also has a partnership with Cellectis, also based in Paris, on its off-the-shelf approach to CAR-T drugs.

Sorrento’s shares inched up a few cents this morning in early trading.

“We have tested STI-A1110 in preclinical studies conducted at Servier and we believe that, used in combination with several products from our portfolio, it will lead to the development of new treatments for hematological as well as solid tumor cancers,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Abastado, director of the Oncology Innovation Therapeutic Pole for Servier.

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