Sanofi axes cancer combo, early next-gen diabetes drug

Sanofi
Sanofi said it was culling a combination therapy of its approved oncology monoclonal antibody (mAb) Libtayo alongside its phase 3 experimental anti-CD38 mAb isatuximab in “advanced malignancies.” (Sanofi)

If you’ve been paying attention this week, you’ve seen that nearly every Big Pharma has been sweeping out dead R&D projects: Sanofi, posting its third-quarter data early this morning, is no different.

In its financial results, the French Big Pharma said it was culling a combination therapy of its approved oncology monoclonal antibody (mAb) Libtayo alongside its phase 3 experimental anti-CD38 mAb isatuximab in “advanced malignancies.” The combo had been axed in prostate and lung cancer tests.

Libtayo already has the green light for lung cancer, a form of skin cancer and myeloma, while isatuximab, developed with biotech Immunogen, is under FDA review for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM), with a PDUFA falling in April next year.

Sanofi said this was due to "efficacy considerations," but not concerns over safety. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, it is still being tested in relapsed/refractory MM.

It’s also discontinued work on SAR441255, a trigonal GLP1R/GIPR/GCGR that was in a phase 1 for diabetes/obesity.

This mechanism is gaining ground with its rivals, with Lilly last year posting positive midstage data from its GIP/GLP-1 agonist LY3298176, with several others in phase 1 with their GIP/GCGR/GLP-1 agonists, including Novo Nordisk and Hanmi.

Sanofi’s effort was preclinical last year, but, according to its second-quarter report, starting its phase 1 in the summer. Again, it did not say why it had been removed.

In its results today, Sanofi said it was “well on track,” with sales hitting €9.5 billion ($10.6 billion) for the quarter, up around 1% on a reported basis (but down on CER), and R&D spend at €1.36 billion, also down on this time last year.