Sanofi culls early infectious disease, blood disorder asset as it ramps up phase 3 for also-ran COVID vax

Sanofi has made a small trim to its pipeline today, though its near-term R&D focus remains on the 35,000-patient COVID vaccine test it started last quarter.

First up for the chop (PDF) is sutimlimab, a complement C1s inhibitor pulled in phase 1 for immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood disorder that causes a drop in the number of platelets in the blood, increasing the risk of internal bleeding and caused by immune reaction against the body's platelets.

The French Big Pharma gave no reason for the drug’s removal, saying only in its second-quarter update that it “was discontinued in Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura.”

It’s not the end for the therapy, however, as Sanofi is still working on the drug in the more important phase 3 for hemolysis in people with cold agglutinin disease (where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own red blood cells), with recent positive data the basis for its attempt at a European approval.

Also on the chopping block is SAR441236, a trispecific in phase 1 for HIV; this too will live on, but outside of the pharma’s pipeline, as it has been out-licensed to ModeX Therapeutics.

The small, Massachusetts-based biotech will now pick up development for the therapy, "except for some retained obligations related to the ongoing clinical trial (A5377) sponsored by DAIDS/NIH.” Sanofi did not give financial details nor the reason it sold off the med.

RELATED: Sanofi-GSK's COVID-19 vaccine enters EMA rolling review as the companies work on phase 3 trial

Sanofi, looking for a piece of the booster market with partner GlaxoSmithKline, also recently kick-started a phase 3 for their COVID vaccine hopeful SP0253—an adjuvanted recombinant-protein—which they hope will allow them to gun for full approval.

The pharma saw its R&D costs jump by 7% at constant exchange rates to €1.4 billion ($1.66 billion) for the second quarter.