Sanofi terminates $375M Metabolex diabetes deal

Sanofi-Aventis has opted to terminate a deal with Metabolex that was worth up to $375 million in milestone payments. Less than a year ago Sanofi agreed to collaborate on MBX-2982, an orally active GPR119 agonist for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Metabolex received and undisclosed upfront payment on the deal.

An SEC filing didn't reveal the reason behind Sanofi's decision, and Metabolex spokesperson Don Hill told the San Francisco Business Times that Phase IIa data revealed no major concerns related to the drug's safety or efficacy. But Sanofi still chose to walk away after seeing the data. "We need to assess if we will pursue another trial or partner it out again," Hill added.

Diabetes remains a significant and growing market, but many drugmakers are abandoning the field due to tougher FDA safety requirements and the expensive, large and lengthy trials necessary to achieve approval. But Sanofi's move still comes as a surprise given MBX-2982's potential to become a first-in-class treatment for the disease, notes the Times. Earlier this month the French drugmaker reported impressive results from a late-stage trial of Type 2 diabetes drug lixisenatide, proving the treatment was not inferior to Byetta (exenatide) for glycemic control.

- here's the San Francisco Business Times article