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.