Sanofi-Aventis is taking over TargeGen, a developer of small molecule kinase inhibitors. The company separately entered a research agreement with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) focused on type 1 diabetes.
The ultimate purchase price for TargeGen will depend on the achievement of certain milestones with the potential of reaching $560 million. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
Formed in 2001, TargeGen's most advanced drug candidate, TG101348, completed a Phase I study in October 2009. It is being developed for the treatment of patients with myeloproliferative diseases including primary and secondary myelofibrosis (MF) and polycythemia vera (PV). There are currently no approved drugs for either disease.
The molecule is an oral, potent, and highly selective JAK2 kinase inhibitor, according to TargeGen. Preliminary data from a 59-patient trial involving the treatment of MF patients with TG101348 was presented at the American Society of Hematology Conference in New Orleans in December 2009.
Along with preclinical data, the company says that TG101348 has shown that, in addition to the treatment of certain myeloproliferative disorders, it may also have potential utility in the treatment of certain forms of hematological malignancies like leukemia and lymphoma as weel as other blood disorders.
“Sanofi-aventis brings significant strength and resources to the continued development and potential commercialization of TG101348," says Peter G. Ulrich, president, CEO, and co-founder of TargeGen. “With their global focus on oncology and long-term commitment to this patient population, we are confidant they will maximize the treatment potential of TG101348 across multiple clinical indications.”
Additionally, sanofi-aventis’ partnership with JDRF gives it options to the intellectual property developed by researchers who receive funding through the program. Both parties will provide financial support to academic investigators and nonprofit medical research organizations to conduct projects in regeneration and immune therapy.