Sanofi, Kiadis in $996-M Deal for Natural-Killer Cancer Programs

By Miranda Greenberg -

July 16, 2020

Sanofi and Kiadis Pharma, an Amsterdam-based clinical-stage company developing therapeutics based on natural killer (NK) cells, have entered into an exclusive license agreement, in a deal worth up to EUR 875 ($996 million), for developing select Kiadis’ NK programs.

The deal centers on Kiadis’ K-NK004 program, which is a CD38 knockout K-NK therapeutic for use in combination with anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies, including Scarlisa (satuximab-irfc), Sanofi’s recently approved drug for treating multiple myeloma. Antibodies work synergistically with NK cells to kill tumor cells in a process called antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, according to information from Kiadis Pharma. Treatment of multiple myeloma with anti-CD38 antibodies, such as Scarlisa, deplete the patients’ own NK cells, as natural NK cells also express CD38. Kiadis’ CD38KO K-NK cells are NK cells that have been modified to prevent expression of CD38 and are thus resistant to this effect, according to the company.

Sanofi has received exclusive global rights to research, develop and commercialize K-NK004 based on Kiadis’ CD38KO K-NK cells in combination with CD38-targeting molecules for the treatment of multiple myeloma and other CD38-positive blood cancers. Additionally, Sanofi has obtained exclusive rights to use Kiadis’ K-NK platform for two other previously undisclosed preclinical programs. The license does not include rights to K-NK002 and K-NK003 or to any other current and future Kiadis programs. Sanofi will be responsible for all costs related to the research and development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercial activities related to the licensed K-NK programs. Kiadis has retained exclusive rights to and will supply PM21 particles and select universal donors for Sanofi, paid for by Sanofi.

Under the deal, Kiadis will receive a EUR 17.5-million ($20-million) upfront payment and will be entitled to receive up to EUR 857.5 million ($976 million) upon Sanofi’s achievement of preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. Kiadis will also receive up to low double-digit royalties based on commercial sales of approved products resulting from this agreement.

Source: Kiadis Pharma