AstraZeneca, Sanofi form R&D alliance for infant respiratory drug

AstraZeneca’s MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur have formed a research and development alliance for a new infant respiratory drug, MEDI8897 which they are planning to commercialize after getting through the clinical trials and the necessary regulatory approvals.

AstraZeneca’s MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur have formed a research and development alliance for a new infant respiratory drug, MEDI8897 which they are planning to commercialize after getting through the clinical trials and the necessary regulatory approvals.

While MedImmune is the global biotech arm of British-Swedish pharma giant, Sanofi Pasteur is the vaccines division of French pharma major Sanofi.

MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur are collaborating on a potential €615 million alliance to develop a monoclonal antibody (mAb) for treating lower respiratory tract illness caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and children.

AstraZeneca MedImmune
MedImmune, Gaithersburg, US. Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca.

Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President of MedImmune commenting on the infant respiratory drug R&D alliance with Sanofi Pasteur, said: “By combining our development expertise and leadership in RSV with Sanofi Pasteur’s significant global experience in commercialising paediatric vaccines we hope to provide an RSV disease prevention approach for all infants, both term and pre-term.

“This agreement supports our focus on our three main therapy areas, while delivering value from the innovative science in our pipeline through partnerships.”

MEDI8897 infant respiratory drug is currently under a Phase IIb clinical trial in pre-term infants who cannot be treated with the current standard of care medicine, which is Synagis.

The new infant respiratory drug, which has an US FDA fast track designation, is said to neutralize the effect of the respiratory syncytial by binding the RSV fusion (F) found on virions and infected cells.

MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur are looking to hold a phase III trial of the MEDI8897 infant respiratory drug in healthy full-term and late pre-term infants.

As far as the financial aspects are concerned, Sanofi Pasteur will pay €120 million to AstraZeneca upfront. Additionally it will pay AstraZeneca €495 million depending on select development and sales-related milestones.

Both AstraZeneca and Sanofi will share the costs and profits associated with the infant respiratory drug equally. AstraZeneca will handle the development activity of the infant respiratory medicine during initial approvals besides retaining its manufacturing activities.

On the other hand, Sanofi Pasteur will take care of the marketing related activities of the baby respiratory drug.

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