French pharma giant Sanofi expands to battle cancer

French pharma giant, Sanofi, has bought out the American firm behind one of the most promising new cancer treatments in development.
French pharma giant, Sanofi, has bought out the American firm behind one of the most promising new cancer treatments in development. (Photo by Yann Schreiber / AFP)
Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical giant, has signed a deal to buy the US-based company, Amunix, which is developing novel cancer treatments that could be the key to defeating this illness.

French pharma giant Sanofi said Tuesday it had signed a billion-dollar deal to buy US-based biotech firm Amunix, which develops cancer treatments that enlist the body’s immune system.

“Sanofi will acquire Amunix for an upfront payment of approximately €890 million and up to €199 million upon achievement of certain future development milestones,” the French firm said in a statement.

Immuno-oncology firm Amunix is developing cancer therapies based on cytokines — small proteins that play a role in controlling the immune system — and T-cells, a type of white blood cell.

Its technology could “precisely tailor-deliver medicines to become active only in tumor tissues while sparing normal tissues,” said Sanofi research and development chief John Reed.

Its most promising candidate medicine, dubbed AMX-818, is “expected to enter the clinic in early 2022” for trials, according to Sanofi.

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Amunix is the latest in a string of acquisitions by the French company, including September’s $1.6-billion buyout of US biotech firm Kadmon, which is developing treatments for transplant patients.

It also bought messenger RNA research firm Translate Bio for €2.4 billion.

Sanofi aims to complete its acquisition of Amunix in the first quarter of next year.


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