Sanofi deal spree creates closer ties with Dyax

Cambridge, MA-based Dyax has grown a lot closer to Sanofi-Aventis in recent weeks. Sanofi-Aventis' previously announced deal to buy Fovea Pharmaceuticals for $540 million has positioned the pharma giant as its partner on an early-stage eye therapy. And the pharma company's exclusive licensing pact with Merrimack Pharmaceuticals for an antibody to treat cancer puts Dyax downstream a royalty deal originally struck when the developer opened up its proprietary antibody phage display library to Merrimack.  

The deal to buy Fovea leaves Sanofi partnered with Dyax in a joint development agreement covering DX-88, an early-stage therapy for retinal vein occlusion (RVO) induced macular edema--which is characterized by swelling under the central section of the retina. RVO is caused when a retinal vein is blocked, causing fluids to build up which cloud vision.

Dyax already had a commercial tie to Sanofi. In February 2008 the pharma company licensed rights to Dyax's fully human monoclonal antibody DX-2240 and to the company's proprietary phage display technology in a deal valued at up to $500 million for Dyax. Dyax received $25 million in upfront payments in 2008.  

"We are pleased that DX-88 in retinal disease has been recognized as a key asset in the proposed acquisition of Fovea," said Dyax CEO Gustav A. Christensen. "Furthermore, these deals, which involve two drug candidates generated from our proprietary phage display libraries, further validate our technology as an important drug discovery platform."

- check out the press release
- read the story from Reuters