Sanofi and Immune Design, a clinical-stage immunotherapy company, have entered into a licensing agreement for use of Immune Design's GLAAS discovery platform to develop therapeutic agents to treat a selected food allergy.
"This is an exciting time in the area of immunology research, and our relationship with Immune Design is a great example of how Sanofi has changed our approach to R&D," said Kurt Stoeckli, vice president and head of global bio therapeutics, Sanofi. "With this partnership, we are able to tap into breakthrough science that holds great potential to transform how food allergies are treated and the lives of those people affected. This kind of innovation is central to our new approach."
The incidence of food allergies is increasing worldwide in both developed and undeveloped countries, and especially in children. Globally, experts believe 220 to 250 million people may suffer from food allergies. In the U.S. alone, as many as 15 million people have food allergies, with allergic reactions resulting in an emergency room visit every three minutes and averaging more than 200,000 emergency room visits per year.
Immune Design has granted Sanofi an exclusive license to discover, develop and commercialize products to treat a selected food allergy. The company has received an undisclosed upfront payment and will be eligible to receive development and commercialization milestones totaling $168 million, as well as tiered royalties on sales of approved products.
"Our fourth agreement for the use of the GLAAS platform further demonstrates the broad applicability of this approach not only in cancer and infectious diseases, but now in allergic diseases as well," said Stephen Brady, chief business officer at Immune Design. "Due to the immune dysfunction leading to allergic diseases, GLAAS' mechanism of action is well suited to correct the imbalance, allowing for the potential of new therapeutics in the targeted indication that currently uses century-old technologies."
Sanofi and Immune Design have generated a large set of preclinical data demonstrating that certain formulations within GLAAS, when given prophylactically or therapeutically, can shift the immune responses in a way that may result in significant protection and reduction from allergy symptoms.