Regeneron and Sanofi $SNY aim to field the sixth new entry in the PD-1/L1 space next year, and like their rivals they have some big plans for followup approvals in a rush to command new market niches.
This morning Regeneron $REGN announced that it will pursue a combination program matching its checkpoint cemiplimab with an HPV16-targeting drug from the Dutch biotech ISA for cervical and head-and-neck cancers.
Regeneron is buying into ISA in the deal and offering an upfront, but we don’t have the numbers on the deal. And if Regeneron picks up an option on marketing rights, it will follow up with a set of milestones. Both companies will share development costs.
The deal marks the latest in a string of pacts from Regeneron, most noticeably a tie-up with Decibel where they want to forge a new kind of biotech alliance, taking stakes in the companies they want to work with and pursuing a hands-on approach to research collaboration.
The checkpoint field has exploded over the past few years, leading to all over a thousand clinical trials by the leaders in the field. Regeneron and Sanofi believe they will be ready to file for their first approval of cemiplimab in Q1.
“Regeneron continues to expand and advance our immuno-oncology program by studying multiple combination therapies in order to fully explore the scientific possibilities in this relatively new field,” said Israel Lowy, head of translational science and oncology at Regeneron. “Early clinical results with ISA101 in HPV16-positive indications have been promising, and we’re eager to investigate the impact of adding cemiplimab with the goal of further enabling the body’s immune system to attack the cancer.”
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