Sanofi to gain 'off the shelf' NK cell platform via Kiadis buy

Sanofi entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Kiadis Pharma for €5.45 ($6.35) per share in cash, or a total equity value of around €308 million ($359 million), the companies announced Monday. The purchase, which is expected to close in the first half of 2021, will give Sanofi access to Kiadis' allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell-based therapies that are under development for various tumour types.

John Reed, global head of R&D at Sanofi, commented "we believe Kiadis' 'off the shelf' K-NK cell technology platform will have broad application against liquid and solid tumours, and create synergies with Sanofi's emerging immuno-oncology pipeline." The transaction, which has been approved by Kiadis' management and supervisory boards, represents a premium of 272% over the company's closing share price on October 30.

Purchase follows licensing deal

Earlier this year, Sanofi licensed Kiadis' preclinical K-NK004 programme as part of an agreement potentially worth over €850 million ($990 million). At the time, Kiadis said the French drugmaker would study K-NK004 in combination with its anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody Sarclisa (isatuximab), which is approved, in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb's Pomalyst (pomalidomide) and dexamethasone, for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies.

The acquisition will also give Sanofi rights to Kiadis' K-NK002, which is in Phase II development to prevent post-transplant relapse in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes. Further, Kiadis' pipeline includes K-NK003, which is being investigated in a Phase I study for patients with relapsed or refractory AML, as well as the KNK-ID-101 programme for treating SARS-CoV-2.

Sanofi suggested that Kiadis' allogeneic NK platform has "the potential to make products rapidly and economically available for a broad patient population across a wide range of indications." The French company plans to study the therapies both alone and in combination with its existing platforms.

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