Sanofi has inked a licensing deal with South Korea’s Hanmi to beef up its research pipeline with a trio of investigational diabetes therapies.

Under the deal, the French drugmaker will pay Hanmi $400 million upfront and up to €3.5 billion in development, registration and sales milestones, in return for an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialise: efpeglenatide, a late-stage long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist; a weekly insulin; and a fixed-dosed weekly GLP-1-RA/insulin drug combo.

Hanmi is also eligible for double-digit royalties on net sales on any of these products making it to market, and retains an exclusive option to co-commercialise the products in Korea and China.

Explaining the strategy behind the deal, Pascale Witz, who will lead the Global Diabetes and Cardiovascular Care Business Unit in Sanofi’s new organisational structure, said: “We now have the opportunity to expand our existing portfolio by including medicines that are administered weekly as well as daily, which could extend our reach in basal insulin and expand our GLP-1-RA and GLP-RA/insulin combination prospects. In these ways, we aim to complement our current offerings and work to serve a broader patient population”.

The so-called ‘Quantum Portfolio’ is based on Hanmi's proprietary Lapscovery (Long Acting Protein/Peptide Discovery) Technology that prolongs the duration of action of biologics, minimising treatment frequency and dosing to potentially reduce side effects and optimise efficacy.

Lexicon deal

Meanwhile, Sanofi and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals have entered into a collaboration and license agreement for the development and commercialisation of sotagliflozin, an investigational new oral dual inhibitor of sodium-glucose cotransporters 1 and 2 , which could be a potential treatment option for people with diabetes.

Sanofi has picked up a worldwide license to the drug, while Lexicon will receive an upfront payment of $300 million and is eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $1.4 billion, as well as tiered, escalating double-digit percentage royalties on net sales.