Sanofi culls pipeline dud, still looking to out-license unwanted later-stage meds

Sanofi
(Sanofi)

Sanofi is culling a Regeneron-partnered med and still looking for partners for two unwanted pipeline candidates as the Big Pharma continues to reshuffle its R&D priorities.

This is according to its first-quarter update (PDF) posted early Friday morning. We already knew that efpeglenatide, a long-acting GLP-1 agonist for Type 2 diabetes, was on the chopping block when the French Big Pharma, alongside partner Hanmi, said late last year they were looking for a new partner to sell the med.

This comes after Sanofi said it was it was reprioritizing its pipeline away from diabetes. It’s a similar story for midstage candidate SAR422459, an ABCA4 gene therapy against Stargardt disease, an inherited eye disorder, which Sanofi said it will be out-licensing once a partner is found.

The therapy, which uses Oxford Biomedica's LentiVector tech to deliver a corrected ABCR gene directly to the retina, saw its phase 1/2 test terminated at the start of the year. In the ClinicalTrials.gov update, this was “not for safety reasons” but rather: “Due to review of clinical development plans and priorities, sponsor [Sanofi] decided to stop development of the product.”

RELATED: Sanofi, GSK tie up for COVID-19 vaccine work with eyes on possible 2021 rollout

It has killed off work for SAR440340, an anti-IL33 in atopic dermatitis partnered with Regeneron (a partnership which has been re-jigged a few times over the years). Analysts at Jefferies said it had been discontinued and was “largely anticipated after poor phase 2 data hence our 10% probability [of success].”

Sanofi, which is also now working on a vaccine for COVID-19 with once European rival, now partner, GlaxoSmithKline, as well as on an mRNA vaccine with Translate Bio, said the pandemic could hit the company’s ability to do research, but it's finding a way through.

CEO Paul Hudson said: “In R&D, we took actions to maintain clinical trial programs and to advance our pipeline of potentially transformative medicines. While the duration of the pandemic remains unknown at this point, I am confident Sanofi is well positioned to navigate these challenges and deliver on our commitment to patients.”