Sanofi and Pieris agreed to expand their ongoing discovery and development partnership to include a novel multispecific Anticalin® program. Under the existing agreement from September 2010, the new program will entitle Pieris to an up-front payment from Sanofi and committed research funding as well as payments for the achievement of research, preclinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

“Following more than two years of successful collaboration in this multiprogram agreement, the expansion demonstrates that the Anticalin technology can deliver key differentiation over conventional biologic approaches, including the development of multispecific targeted therapeutics,” said Stephen Yoder, CEO of Pieris.

In the original agreement, Pieris received €3.5 million (around $4.6 million) in an up-front payment. Payments also included milestones and tiered royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration. Sanofi-Aventis and Sanofi Pasteur have exclusive marketing rights worldwide for all such products.

Anticalin-branded proteins represent a generation of targeted protein therapeutics derived from human lipocalins, rationally engineered to address the pharmacological and pharmaceutical limitations of both protein- and non-protein-based drug platforms, said the firm. The multispecific approach, whereby the DNA of individual Anticalins can be pieced together to yield a fusion protein, offers the potential for creating new biology and synergistic efficacy by addressing multiple targets with a single drug, according to the company. Additional benefits include improved convenience, accelerated development timelines, ease of manufacturing, and reduced cost.

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