Sanofi will acquire Cambridge, UK-based biopharmaceutical company Kymab in a potential $1.45bn deal, which will see the French pharma add Kymab’s monoclonal antibody (mAB) KY1005 to its pipeline.

Under the terms of the deal, Sanofi will make an upfront payment to acquire Kymab worth approximately $1.1bn, with up to $350m set to be delivered upon the achievement of certain milestones.

The core focus of the deal is Kymab’s fully human mAB KY1005, which has potential in a ‘wide variety’ of inflammatory disorders and immune-mediated diseases, according to Sanofi.

The mAB is already being studied in moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis patients whose disease is inadequately controlled with topical corticosteroids.

In a phase IIa study in this patient population, KY1005 demonstrated a ‘consistent’ treatment effect compared to placebo across a number of key endpoints, including in the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) and further objective clinical measures.

“The Kymab acquisition adds KY1005 to our dynamic pipeline, a potential first-in-class treatment for a range of immune and inflammatory diseases. The novel mechanism of action may provide treatment for patients with suboptimal responses to available therapies,” said Paul Hudson, chief executive officer of Sanofi.

“The agreement is a testament to the commitment, drive and expertise of the entire Kymab team and we are pleased to receive this endorsement from Sanofi,” added Simon Sturge, chief executive officer of Kymab.

“With its significant global resources, we believe Sanofi is the perfect partner to progress Kymab’s pipeline of products and the merger will expedite the time it takes for our novel therapies to get to patients,” he added.

In addition to KY1005, Kymab’s pipeline includes an oncology asset – KY1044 – which is currently in early phase I/II development as a monotherapy and in combination with an anti-PD-L1 inhibitor.