Sanofi will join with MyoKardia to discover and develop targeted therapies for genetic cardiomyopathies based on research by the precision medicine biotech, in a deal that could generate up to $200 million for MyoKardia, the companies said today.
The collaboration aims to develop targeted therapies from MyoKardia’s research into correcting the disruptive effects of disease mutations on heart muscle function, and is based on three MyoKardia programs: Two focused on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM); the other, on dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Elias Zerhouni, M.D., Sanofi’s president, global R&D, said in a statement that the collaboration illustrated the pharma giant’s Sunrise strategic partnership initiative. Under Sunrise, Sanofi has committed to investing in early-stage research that it views as aligning with its development and commercialization abilities, with the goal of speeding up development and broadening basic disease research.
MyoKardia is one of two companies listed on Sunrise’s website as comprising its portfolio; the other company is WarpDriveBio, whose $125 million in launch financing included participation by the Sanofi program.
“Our investments are not limited by size but are often gated over a three- to five-year timeline, ensuring that key questions that can make or break a novel therapeutic approach are addressed expertly and rapidly as programs advance,” Sanofi states on the Sunrise rpogram’s website.
Sunrise entails partnerships not only with biotech startups but with their venture investors. MyoKardia is funded by leading healthcare investor Third Rock Ventures, which launched the company in 2012 with $38 million in series A financing.
In the new collaboration, MyoKardia has already received a $45 million upfront fee from Sanofi, with the remaining up-to-$155 million to be paid by the pharma giant as equity investments, milestone payments and R&D services through 2018, the companies said.
Sanofi and MyoKardia added that they will equally share development costs on the HCM programs following initial demonstration of efficacy in patients, with Sanofi fully covering development costs for the DCM program.
MyoKardia will direct research and worldwide development activities through early human efficacy studies. After that, MyoKardia will continue to lead worldwide development and U.S. commercial activities for the two HCM programs, where it has retained product rights. Sanofi will lead global development and commercial activities for DCM where it has obtained worldwide rights, as well as regulatory and commercial activities outside the U.S. for the two HCM programs where it has ex-U.S. commercialization rights.
Sanofi also has the option to co-promote U.S. development of treatments for potential expanded cardiovascular diseases outside of the genetically targeted indications for either of the HCM programs, with MyoKardia having the option to co-promote the DCM program in the U.S., the companies added.
“By genetically defining HCM and DCM into several underlying rare genetic diseases, MyoKardia’s candidate therapies have the potential to be developed far more efficiently than traditional cardiovascular drugs,” added MyoKardia CEO Tassos Gianakakos.