Lead Pharma Achieves first Milestone for Development of Autoimmune Diseases Treatments in Research Collaboration with Sanofi

November 2, 2015

Company receives undisclosed milestone payment

Lead Pharma, a pharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it has achieved the first milestone under its research collaboration with Sanofi, triggering an undisclosed milestone payment. The collaboration aims to develop small molecules directed against the nuclear hormone receptor ROR gamma (t) for the treatment of a broad range of autoimmune disorders, including common diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

In February 2015, Lead Pharma and Sanofi announced a research collaboration and licensing agreement to discover, develop and commercialize small molecule therapies directed against ROR gamma (t), a key regulator of immune cells called T-helper 17 (Th17) cells. The current milestone payment follows an initial upfront cash payment at the start of the collaboration. Lead Pharma is eligible to receive further milestone payments and entitled to receive royalty payments on global sales from any resulting products. Financial details were not disclosed.

“We are delighted to have achieved the first milestone in our collaboration with Sanofi within nine months after the start of the collaboration,” said Ad van Gorp, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lead Pharma. “This result demonstrates the strength of our partnership and exhibits the rapid progress we are making with the development of novel medications for the treatment of a range of autoimmune disorders.”

About Autoimmune Disorders

A wide range of human diseases are driven by deregulated immune function. These immune-mediated disorders include joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Often, these diseases are characterized by inappropriate activation of molecules termed cytokines, which are important mediators of normal immune function. When inappropriately activated, these powerful molecules can cause severe damage to multiple body systems. Symptoms of immune-mediated diseases range from mild skin rashes to severe organ failure to death. In addition to the significant suffering of patients, the socioeconomic burden of just rheumatoid arthritis has been estimated at approximately $40 billion in the U.S. alone (cf. J Rheumatol 2011; 88; 55-61; http://www.jrheum.org/content/88/55).

About ROR gamma (t)

The nuclear receptor retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma, also known as ROR gamma (t), is a key regulator of the cytokine immune pathway, which leads to the differentiation of T cells to a pro-inflammatory subtype of T helper cells called Th17. ROR gamma (t) drives the production of key pro-inflammatory proteins, including interleukin (IL)-17A, IL-17F and the receptor for IL-23. In the last years, several clinical studies have validated the critical role of the IL-17 pathway in chronic autoimmune-related inflammation. Recent findings have demonstrated that the biological function of ROR gamma (t) can be moderated with small molecules and have advanced this target to the cutting edge of drug discovery.

About Lead Pharma

Lead Pharma is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the discovery and development of innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Lead Pharma’s drug discovery engine combines medicinal, structural, and computational chemistry with molecular pharmacology, cell and tissue-based pharmacology. Thereby, the company aims to identify first and / or best-in-class small molecule drugs. Based in Nijmegen and Oss, the Netherlands, Lead Pharma is privately owned and is financed by Biox Biosciences, Participatiemaatschappij Oost Nederland N.V. (PPM Oost), Life Sciences & Health Fund B.V., and Technostartersfonds Zuid Nederland B.V.

For more information visit: www.leadpharma.com


Media Inquiries:
Dr. Ludger Wess or Ines-Regina Buth
Tel.: +49 (0)40 88 16 59 64 / +49 (0)30 2363 2768

Company Inquiries:

Lead Pharma Holding B.V.
Dr. Ad van Gorp, CEO
Tel.: +31 412 782999