Sanofi Reaffirms Commitment to AI Drug Discovery with $1.2B Insilico Pact

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Chesnot/Getty Images

Sanofi has once again entered into a partnership with an artificial intelligence-based drug development firm - this time with Insilico Medicine – in a deal that could be worth as much as $1.2 billion.

The two companies will utilize Insilico’s AI platform, Pharma.AI, to develop drugs for up to six new targets.

Under the terms of the deal, Sanofi is paying Hong Kong-based Insilico $21.5 million to cover the upfront and target nomination fees. It will also include payments for various research, development and sales milestones and mid-single to low double-digit tiered royalties.

Frank Nestle, global head of research and CSO at Sanofi, told BioSpace Insilico is one of the key leaders in this space due to Pharma.AI, an end-to-end drug discovery platform.

“By working together we expect to achieve synergy and accelerate drug discovery with a focus on our emerging pipeline at the Sanofi Institute for Biomedical Research (SIBR) in China,” Nestle said. 

He added that the collaboration serves as continued validation of the important role AI-powered platforms will play in accelerating the discovery of new therapies. 

Pharma.AI leverages millions of data samples and data types to discover disease signatures and identify the most promising targets for billions of molecules in existence or that can be developed in the laboratory, according to Insilico.

It includes three components. PandaOmics is designed to discover and prioritize novel targets; Chemistry42 generates novel molecules; and InClinico designs and predicts clinical trials.

Insilico made headlines in July when it announced the platform had identified multiple unreported possible therapeutic targets for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

In a statement, Insilico Co-CEO and CSO Feng Ren, Ph.D. said the collaboration with Sanofi could accelerate novel therapeutics discovery to address diseases with unmet medical needs.  

Sanofi Doubles Down on AI

Most recently, Sanofi entered into a research and development deal with AI company Atomwise, in late August. Under the terms of that deal, Sanofi is paying Atomwise $20 million upfront to identify, synthesize and advance lead compounds for up to five targets. With various milestone payments, the deal could exceed $1 billion, in addition to tiered royalties for Atomwise.

In January, Sanofi expanded a collaboration pact with Exscientia to use Exscientia’s AI-driven personalized medicine platform to develop up to 15 oncology and immunology products. This was an expansion of agreements entered into in 2016 and 2019. Sanofi paid Exscientia $100 million in cash up front with a potential $5.2 billion in milestones.

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