Sanofi-Aventis has decided to discontinue its participation in the development of Uvidem, an investigational therapy being studied for the treatment of melanoma with IDM Pharma.

No reason has been given for the move, which will see all rights to the product reverting back to IDM. Uvidem is an immunostimulant which consists of mature dendritic cells loaded with lysates from melanoma tumour cell lines and has been administered to 143 patients.

IDM noted that it will continue to evaluate the Uvidem clinical programme, which recently completed Phase II studies “with promising results”, and the US firm noted that it will work with Sanofi to conclude the collaboration within the three-month timeframe set out in their original agreement. As of September 30, the French drugmaker owned 7.9% of IDM’s common stock.

Sanofi’s decision means that IDM needs to restructure, a move which will result in unspecified staff reductions and “a review of the assets and costs associated with products under development”. The firm now has full rights to its three leading candidates – Uvidem, L-MTP-PE (mifamurtide) for osteosarcoma and IDM-2101 for non-small cell lung cancer – and says that “the restructured company may be a more attractive partner in any potential strategic transaction going forward”.