Sanofi has extended and reshaped its existing collaboration with Warp Drive Bio centred on its proprietary SMART and Genome Mining platforms to discover new antibiotics and therapeutics for cancer.

Under the new deal, research will focus on the development of drugs targeting important human oncogenes including RAS, which has one of the highest mutation rates in cancer, and new antibiotics targeting Gram-negative bacteria.

Warp Drive will lead the research collaboration for a period of five years while Sanofi gets exclusive global licenses to develop and commercialise any candidates discovered, and stands to receive in excess of $750 million in the forms of an equity investment, research, clinical, and regulatory milestones, and research and development services, in addition to post-approval royalties.

On the cancer side, Warp Drive has the option to lead development of candidates up to Phase II clinical studies, with Sanofi leading development through the filing of new drug applications. Sanofi will also lead any global commercial activities while Warp Drive has the option to co-commercialise oncology therapeutics in the US market. 

The antibiotic collaboration will focus on the discovery and development of novel Gram-negative therapeutics and Sanofi will lead all development activities as well as global commercialisation.

The French drugs giant has been a major investor and strategic partner the private biotech, which uses genomic technology to discover drugs of natural origin, since its inception in 2012.

"This reshaped alliance enables joint and independent product development by Warp Drive, an important step in our evolution as we advance a therapeutic pipeline using our proprietary platforms," said Laurence Reid, the firm’s chief executive.