Insilico Makes its Biggest AI Deal Ever with Sanofi for Potential $1.2 Billion

by Reed Slater
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Artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery and development company Insilico Medicine announced a strategic research collaboration with French pharma giant Sanofi. Insilico will receive $21.5 million upfront, with the potential to rake in up to $1.2 billion, marking the collaboration as Insilico’s biggest to date. 

Leveraging AI to Identify and Develop Drug Candidates

According to Insilico’s press release, Sanofi can advance drug development candidates for up to six new targets using Pharma.AI, Insilico’s AI platform. The $21.5 million upfront payment would cover costs for nomination fees and full access to Pharma.AI, a deal no other company has benefitted from with Insilico in the past. 

Additional payments could come Insilico’s way if they meet certain research, development, and sales milestones, totaling a potential $1.2 billion. Insilico will also receive mid-single to low double-digit tiered royalties for any products developed in the future. 

Changchun Xiao, Head of China Research at Sanofi, said, “This collaboration will leverage our complementary capabilities, as well as the co-location of our scientific teams, to boost the drug discovery efforts of the Sanofi Institute for Biomedical Research, Sanofi’s R&D center in China.”

The deal is Insilico’s second major endeavor into Chinese territory after a January collaboration with Fosun Pharma. That partnership brought $13 million to Insilico with the potential for an undisclosed amount of milestone payments to discover and develop multiple therapeutic targets. Insilico hit its first milestone with Fosun just five weeks after the initial collaboration, potentially drawing the attention of big pharma companies like Sanofi.

Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D., CEO, and founder of Insilico, said, “This close collaboration will allow Sanofi to immediately gain the capabilities of one of the top AI startups in addition to enriching their drug discovery pipeline.”

This collaboration is just another dip into AI for Sanofi recently, which struck partnerships with Owkin in November last year and Exscientia in January this year. The deal with Insilico marks another step into a fascinating new area of biotech research. 

Related Article: Insilico Medicine Pinpoints New Targets for ALS With AI

Insilico’s Rising Success Story

Founded in 2014, Insilico appears to be at the front of the AI-driven biotech pack, pushing innovation in one of the industry’s most promising areas. The company is dedicated to leveraging AI to discover and develop drugs targeting cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system (CNS) diseases, and aging-related diseases. 

In addition to advancing its AI program through partnerships, Insilico has its own pipeline dedicated to AI-discovered therapeutic targets. Furthest along is an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis-targeting drug in Phase 1 clinical trials. The pipeline consists of over ten candidates in preclinical phases for various disease areas and indications.

Insilico recently identified multiple new amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) targets using its AI platform. The news made waves across media outlets, garnering excitement for AI discovery systems. 

The deal with Sanofi marks a huge accomplishment for Insilico, partnering with one of biotech’s biggest and most resource-heavy players. The initial $21.5 million will go to good use to keep innovative operations going to set the stage for the potential $1.2 billion in milestones in the future.

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