"Immune-mediated diseases affect individuals, families, and communities and impact the economies of countries and nations, making this poorly understood category of diseases a significant public health burden." said Dr. Elias Zerhouni, President, Global R&D at Sanofi. "Joining efforts with UCB, we will address a scientific challenge in immunology, and increase the chances of accelerating the discovery and development of future therapies."
"We partner Sanofi's significant expertise, strong capabilities and resources with UCB's cutting-edge research skills and breakthrough innovations. Together we can maximize the opportunity to treat diseases currently treated by biologic agents with small molecules and thus benefit millions of people suffering from severe diseases," commented Ismail Kola, President UCB NewMedicines.
UCB NewMedicines, the research arm of UCB, has used an innovative approach to identify small molecules modulators of a biological pathway, for which parenterally administered biologic therapies have proven highly efficacious in patients. A dedicated team of scientists will be formed under the leadership of Sanofi and UCB, and will join forces in a discovery and development based collaboration to characterize and identify new potential therapies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi and UCB will share costs and profits on a 50/50 basis. UCB will be entitled to initial upfront, preclinic al and clinical development milestone payments from Sanofi, potentially exceeding € 100 million.
About Immune-mediated Diseases
A wide range of human diseases are driven by dysregulated immune function. There are hundreds of immune-mediated disorders that include joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Often these diseases are characterized by inappropriate activation of molecules termed cytokines, which are important mediators of normal immune function. When inappropr iately activated, these powerful molecules can cause severe damage to multiple body system s. Manifestations of immune-mediated diseases range from mild skin rashes to severe organ failure to death. In addition to the significant suffering to patients, the socioeconomic burden of just rheumatoid arthritis has been estimated at ~$40bn in the US alone.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With 8700 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of €3.4 billion in 2013. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).