Sanofi-aventis and Avila to Develop Targeted Covalent Oncology Drugs

January 13, 2011

Avila Therapeutics, Inc. (Waltham, MA) and France-based sanofi-aventis have signed a global alliance to discover targeted covalent drugs for the treatment of cancers. Under the alliance agreement, sanofi-aventis obtains a worldwide exclusive license to develop and commercialize the compounds resulting from the discovery collaboration.

Avila Therapeutics, Inc. (Waltham, MA) and France-based sanofi-aventis have signed a global alliance to discover targeted covalent drugs for the treatment of cancers. Under the alliance agreement, sanofi-aventis obtains a worldwide exclusive license to develop and commercialize the compounds resulting from the discovery collaboration.

As part of the research alliance, sanofi-aventis and Avila will collaborate to design targeted covalent drugs directed toward six signaling proteins that are critical in tumor cells. The targets to be explored under the collaboration are difficult to approach with traditional pharmaceutical treatments, but are potentially amenable to Avila’s targeted covalent drug technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, for the selected targets sanofi-aventis will have access to Avila’s proprietary Avilomics platform that offers an approach to “protein silencing” that cannot be achieved through traditional medicinal chemistry.

Avila has the opportunity to retain the rights to one of the six collaboration programs after the end of the initial three-year collaboration term and sanofi-aventis retains a right of first negotiation for such program, should Avila decide to partner that program.

Avila will receive up to $40 million in upfront and research support payments and is eligible to receive preclinical, clinical, regulatory milestone payments up to $154 million per collaboration program, if the respective product is approved in the US, Europe, and Japan. Avila may also receive staged royalties and commercial milestones on product sales in each of the programs advanced by sanofi-aventis.

Avila’s press release