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Mar 11, 2014

Sanofi, UCB to Hunt for Small Molecules for Immune-Mediated Diseases

  • UCB and Sanofi are teaming up to look for and develop anti-inflammatory small molecules that could be used to treat a range of immune-mediated diseases in areas that include gastroenterology and arthritis. Per the agreement, the two firms will share costs and profits on a 50/50 basis, and UCB will be entitled to initial upfront, preclinical, and clinical development milestone payments—ones potentially worth over €100 million ($138.5 million)—from Sanofi.

    UCB's research arm, UCB NewMedicines, has come up with a way to identify small molecule modulators of a biological pathway for which parenterally administered biologic therapies have reportedly proven effective in patients. Sanofi and UCB plan to assemble and lead together a team of scientists that will characterize and identify potential new treatments.

    "We partner Sanofi’s significant expertise, strong capabilities and resources with UCB’s cutting-edge research skills and breakthrough innovations," Ismail Kola, president of UCB NewMedicines, said in a statement. "Together we can maximize the opportunity to treat diseases currently treated by biologic agents with small molecules and thus benefit millions of people suffering from severe diseases."

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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