Less than a week after agreeing to buy Brazil’s Medley, Sanofi-Aventis has now made an offer to acquire the US oncology specialist BiPar Sciences in a deal that could be worth up to $500 million.

The Brisbane, California-based company, which is privately-held, is described by Sanofi as being “the leading company in the emerging field of DNA repair using PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitors. By preventing cancer cells from repairing their own DNA, PARP inhibitors ultimately causing those cells to die.

BiPar’s lead product candidate is BSI-201, a potential first-in-class PARP inhibitor that is in Phase II trials for metastatic triple negative breast and ovarian cancers and other malignancies. The final price that Sanofi will pay depends on the development of BSI-201, and if all milestones are reached, the figure could reach a maximum of $500 million.

Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher said the acquisition of BiPar, “one of the pioneer for novel tumor-selective therapies, is a further step in our company’s goal to focus on new approaches to strengthen our oncology R&D portfolio“. The deal is the latest example of the French drugmaker’s desire to focus on small and mid-sized acquisitions which also involves expansion in emerging markets.

With that aim, last week Sanofi-Aventis announced plans to buy Brazilian drugmaker Medley for 500 million euros, and that deal was disclosed a week after the company acquired Mexican generics firm Laboratorios Kendrick.

As for BiPar, its chief executive Hoyoung Huh, said that the agreement validates its “novel scientific approach and will maximise patient access to this new class of breakthrough cancer therapy”. BiPar’s portfolio also includes two preclinical compounds – BSI-401, a follow-on PARP inhibitor candidate being investigated as an oral therapy for pancreatic cancer and BSI-302, a novel anti-tubulin agent, that targets cancer cells based on the role of thyroid hormones in cell proliferation and death.

The transaction, which is subject to clearance from the Federal Trade Commission, is expected to occur in the second quarter.