Sanofi inks $163M tech pact to speed cancer drugs to clinic

Score one for the French drug R&D industry. While Sanofi ($SNY) is preparing to execute deep cuts in its European workforce it struck a new research pact today with Dijon, France-based OncoDesign. Sanofi will use OncoDesign's medicinal chemistry and technology platform--dubbed NanoCyclix--to identify new kinase-target programs.

In the deal OncoDesign stands to earn up to $163 million (130 million euros) in access fees and milestone payments, as well as royalty payments from approved products. The partners will be focused on speeding new drug candidates to the clinic, bolstering Sanofi's ambitious plans for new cancer drugs. 

"We are very pleased that Sanofi, a world leader amongst pharmaceutical companies, has selected Oncodesign as a partner for advancing their internal kinase programs. This agreement further validates the development of our company into a platform company with innovative technologies in medicinal chemistry and advanced oncological pharmacology," said Philippe Genne, Ph.D., chief executive officer and Oncodesign founder. 

In a separate development, Sanofi chief Chris Viehbacher told Bloomberg that the pharma giant is eyeing an R&D expansion in China as it continues to focus on emerging market opportunities.

"I am confident, in the long term, on the growth outlook for China," the CEO said in the interview. "We are moving from made in China to created and discovered in China. It's just a normal part of an economic development process that as wages rise, companies have to seek higher value out of the industries."

It's a zero sum game, though, for Sanofi. Its French workers are planning a strike today to protest layoffs being planned in a pair of its older research facilities.

- here's the press release
- read the Bloomberg report

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