Lead Pharma Achieves Second Milestone for Development of Autoimmune Diseases Treatments in Sanofi Collaboration

February 27, 2017

Company receives undisclosed second milestone payment

 Lead Pharma, a pharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it has achieved a second 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 upfront cash payment at the start of the collaboration and a first milestone payment in November 2015. 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 a second milestone in our collaboration with Sanofi within two years after the start of the collaboration,” said Ad van Gorp, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lead Pharma. “The excellent and very pleasant interaction between the highly motivated and experienced teams of Sanofi and Lead Pharma has brought the collaboration a step closer to treating patients suffering with autoimmune disorders.”

“Immunology is a priority therapeutic area for Sanofi as we work to develop innovative medicines to meet the significant unmet need of people living with autoimmune diseases,” said Frank Nestle, Head of Immunology & Inflammation Research Therapeutic Area, Sanofi. “We value our collaboration with Lead Pharma and are delighted to see rapid progress being made in this novel small molecule research programme”

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