Drugs Pharma

Sanofi signs $1.2 billion drug discovery agreement with Insilico

gene therapy

HQ Team

November 10, 2022: Paris-based pharmaceutical leader Sanofi announced a multi-year, multi-target strategic research collaboration with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery startup Insilico Medicine, worth up to $1.2 billion. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the collaboration will leverage Insilico Medicine’s AI platform, Pharma.AI, to advance drug development candidates for up to six new targets.  Sanofi will pay Insilico Medicine up to $21.5 million, covering the upfront and target nomination fees to access its AI platform and a team of interdisciplinary drug discovery scientists to develop high-quality lead therapeutic compounds. Additional payments will be made if key research, development, and sales milestones are met, to total $1.2 billion. The collaboration also establishes mid-single to up to low double-digit tiered royalties for any products developed.

“We look forward to working with Insilico Medicine, a demonstrated leader in AI-powered drug discovery,” said Changchun Xiao, Head of China Research at Sanofi.  “This collaboration will leverage our complementary capabilities, as well as the co-location of our scientific teams, to boost the drug discovery efforts of the Sanofi Institute for Biomedical Research (SIBR), Sanofi’s R&D center in China.”

 “We are very happy to collaborate with Sanofi, a company with a clear strategy in AI-powered drug discovery,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, CEO and founder of Insilico Medicine. “This close collaboration will allow Sanofi to immediately gain the capabilities of one of the top AI startups in addition to enriching their drug discovery pipeline.”

About Insilico Medicine

Hong Kong-based  Insilico Medicine has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques to discover novel targets and to design novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is delivering breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system (CNS) diseases and aging-related diseases. 

This collaboration comes on the heels of several other AI partnerships formed by Sanofi recently. It signed an agreement with Atomwise in August, a partnership expansion with Exscientia last January, and an equity investment in Owkin a year ago. 

Sanofi’s global head of research platforms, Matt Truppo, said that Sanofi intends to use these AI collaborations to reduce drug development timelines by “a few years,” which in turn brings down costs.

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