Sanofi has paid $50 million to work with Revolution Medicines on the development of cancer drugs against SHP2. The partners plan to move small molecule SHP2 inhibitor RMC-4630 into the clinic later this year.
SHP2, the tyrosine phosphatase encoded by oncogene PTPN11, drives a subset of cancers and has a role in the RTK-RAS-MAPK cascade and other pathways that are dysregulated in tumors. Knowledge of these links led Revolution to work on inhibitors that block these signaling cascades, slowing tumor growth. The inhibitors may be effective in cancers of the lung, colon and skin with mutations in KRAS, NF1 or BRAF.
Sanofi has bought into the idea. In addition to the $50 million upfront fee, Sanofi has committed to covering the R&D costs of the joint SHP2 program and paying out up to $500 million in development and commercial milestones. In return, Sanofi has secured full rights to SHP2 drugs in all countries except the U.S., where Revolution has an option to share promotional duties and profits.
RMC-4630, the lead candidate from Revolution’s SHP2 program, is due to enter a first-in-human trial later this year. Research into the role SHP2 plays in cancer suggests the drug could target a range of indications, but Sanofi has singled out one disease in its discussions of the collaboration.
“We look forward to working with Revolution Medicines to advance investigational therapies that could provide a new way to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers that have specific types of genetic mutations,” Joanne Lager, head of oncology development at Sanofi, said in a statement.
The deal comes as Sanofi seeks to regain ground in cancer under the research leadership of John Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Sanofi missed out on the first immuno-oncology wave, putting it on the periphery of the hottest field in drug development. The French pharma has since moved to build a pipeline capable of creating combination therapies.