In a $3.68 billion transaction, Sanofi is preparing to acquire Principia Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapies for disorders caused by dysregulation of the immune system, including multiple sclerosis (MS).
The decision was unanimously approved by the board of directors of both companies, and will enable Sanofi to have access to Principia’s extensive pipeline of Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors, including SAR442168, which is being investigated as a potential treatment for those with relapsing forms of MS. The acquisition process should be completed before the end of this year.
“This acquisition advances our ongoing R&D [research and development] transformation to accelerate development of the most promising medicines that will address significant patient needs,” Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi, said in a press release.
SAR442168, formerly known as PRN2246, was being developed by Principia in collaboration with Sanofi, which also held its commercialization rights.
This oral BTK inhibitor is expected to lower inflammation throughout the body, including in the central nervous system (CNS, the brain and spinal cord) due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, the highly selective barrier that separates the brain from the blood circulating in the rest of the body.
Like other BTK inhibitors, SAR442168 is able to exert these effects by blocking the activity of BTK, an enzyme that plays a key role in the activity and survival of immune B-cells, which are known drivers of inflammation in MS.
“The addition of multiple BTK inhibitors to our pipeline demonstrates our commitment to strategic product acquisitions in our priority therapeutic areas. Full ownership of our brain-penetrant BTK inhibitor [SAR442168] removes complexities for this priority development program and simplifies future commercialization,” Hudson said.
In a recently concluded dose-determining Phase 2b trial (NCT03889639) assessing the safety and effectiveness of SAR442168 in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) or active secondary progressive MS (SPMS), the investigative treatment lowered the number of new MRI T1 lesions (areas of active, ongoing inflammation) by 85% when given at a daily dose of 60 mg.
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