Sanofi has signed a research pact and licensing deal with Ablynx that could bring as much as $2.7 billion euros to the Belgian biotech’s coffers if all targets are met.

Work will initially focus on developing and commercialising nanobody-based therapeutics for the treatment of various immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.

The deal gives Sanofi access to certain Nanobodies in Ablynx’ existing portfolio as well as its scientists and proprietary nanobody platform, and exclusive global rights to certain multi-specific Nanobodies against selected targets, with options for similar rights to additional targets.

In return, Ablynx will bag an upfront payment of 23 million euros, comprised of license and option fees, as well as research funding of around 8 million euros for the first selected targets.

Sanofi is responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any products, and Ablynx is in line for related milestone payments of up to 2.4 billion euros plus tiered royalties if any make it to market.

“This collaboration is the latest example of Sanofi’s strategic commitment to expand our drug discovery pipeline in immunology at a time when we are launching new treatments for atopic dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis,” said Frank Nestle, Sanofi’s Global Head of Immunology Therapeutic Research Area and chief scientific officer, North America.

“We are particularly excited by the Ablynx technology as a leading biologics platform, enabling the development of transformative multi-targeting treatment approaches.”