Sanofi-aventis will provide $160 million annually until the end of 2017.

Sanofi-aventis is extending its mAb partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals by five years and will pay 60% more in annual funding. The original deal, which was inked in November 2007 and set to expire in 2012, will now run through 2017. Sanofi-aventis will pay $160 million per year beginning in 2010; it originally was to provide $100 million annually.

The companies aim to advance an average of four to five antibodies into clinical development each year. Regeneron will contribute its next-generation technologies related to antibody generation, like VelocImmune®. Sanofi-aventis has an option to extend the discovery program an additional three years.

“The first two years of our collaboration with sanofi-aventis have been extremely productive, with five VelocImmune human antibodies in or entering clinical development,” notes Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Regeneron. “The expansion of our collaboration provides even greater resources over a longer time horizon and will boost our efforts to build a deep pipeline of new human antibody product candidates.”

To date Regeneron and sanofi-aventis have advanced four therapeutic antibodies into clinical development and have filed an IND for a fifth antibody. Among the four in clinical trials, one targets the interleukin-6 receptor and is being developed in rheumatoid arthritis, another is a nerve growth factor for the treatment of pain, and the third targets delta-like ligand 4 as a treatment of advanced malignancies. The targets of the two other antibodies have not been disclosed.

Under the original terms, sanofi-aventis has the exclusive option to co-develop with Regeneron each antibody drug candidate discovered under the collaboration. Development costs will be shared, with sanofi-aventis funding development costs up front and Regeneron reimbursing half of the development costs for all collaboration molecules from its share of future profits.

In the U.S. profits will be shared equally, while outside the U.S. profits will be split on a predetermined sliding scale with sanofi-aventis’ share ranging from 65% to 55%. Regeneron is also entitled to receive up to $250 million as sales milestones when collaboration products achieve certain aggregate annual ex-U.S. sales levels starting at $1 billion. Sanofi-aventis will take the lead in commercialization activities and will consolidate the sales.

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