C4XD, Manchester drug firm, in €414m Sanofi deal

Shares of Manchester-based drug discovery company C4X Discovery Holdings plc rose about 12% on Monday after it announced its subsidiary, C4X Discovery Limited, has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Sanofi worth up to €414 million for C4XD’s oral pre-clinical IL-17A inhibitor programme.

Sanofi will develop and commercialise an oral therapy for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

C4XD shares have soared about 270% over the past 12 months to give the firm a current stock market value of around £100 million.

“Under the terms of the agreement, C4XD will receive an upfront payment of €7 million and could receive up to a further €407 million in potential development, regulatory and commercialisation milestones, of which €11 million is in pre-clinical milestones, in addition to single digit royalties,” said C4X Discovery.

“Under the license, Sanofi will develop and commercialise an oral therapy for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, a multi-billion dollar market.

“The IL-17 family of cytokines are strong inducers of inflammation and are implicated in a variety of autoimmune diseases including psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

“Current treatments targeting IL-17 are monoclonal antibodies administered via an injection.

“There is an urgent need for safe and efficacious oral small molecule therapies to increase the number of patients able to access IL-17 targeted drugs and expand availability into new inflammatory disease indications.

“C4XD’s small molecule IL-17A inhibitor programme can selectively block IL-17 activity in vivo whilst maintaining molecular size of the molecule in the traditional ‘drug-like’ range suitable for oral administration.

“Sanofi will continue to work with the C4XD team to access its unique and proprietary 4D Conformetrix technology, as the programme advances towards clinical studies.”

C4X Discovery CEO Clive Dix said:  “We are proud to be working with Sanofi to create much needed oral therapies in the underserved inflammatory disease space.

“While antibody therapies have demonstrated the potential of IL-17 inhibition in the generation of highly effective treatments, the injectable route means many patients currently do not have access to the medicines that can change their lives.

“We believe that our small molecule programme has the potential to create high value, efficacious and convenient oral IL-17 therapeutics for this large market.

“The Psoriasis market alone is estimated to be worth c.$24 billion per annum by 20271, and when combined with Sanofi’s development expertise our programme has the potential to address a number of indications.

“This is the second significant agreement for a C4XD programme and marks a major milestone for the company, not only validating the strength of our drug discovery expertise, but also our strategy to drive shareholder value through early-stage revenue generating deals.

“With Indivior progressing our molecule for opioid addiction through a Phase I clinical trial and now our partnership with Sanofi driving potential next generation oral IL-17 therapies, we look forward with confidence to further develop our portfolio and deliver additional novel small molecule drug candidates tackling significant patient needs.”