Sanofi has unveiled a partnership with MyoKardia of the USA to develop therapies for patients with genetic heart diseases.

The “groundbreaking collaboration” is focused around the discovery of “first-of-its-kind targeted therapeutics” for cardiomyopathies, the most common forms of heart muscle disease. Specifically, it encompasses three MyoKardia programmes, two of which deal with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and one for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Cashwise, the collaboration is worth $200 million in equity investments, milestone payments and R&D services through 2018. Some $45 million has already been paid through an upfront fee and an undisclosed stake Sanofi has taken in privately-held MyoKardia. The companies will equally share development costs on the HCM programmes, with Sanofi paying for the DCM project.  
The pact has come out of the French drugmaker’s Sunrise initiative, a strategic partnership model for investing in early-stage opportunities and illustrates Sanofi's R&D philosophy for such projects, claimed research chief Elias Zerhouni. He went on to say that “it combines in a meaningful way the unique expertise in rare and cardiovascular diseases of our top scientists with that of the best innovators in the world, like MyoKardia's founders and scientists, to achieve real breakthroughs in medicine”.

MyoKardia was founded in 2012 and is funded by healthcare investor Third Rock Ventures.