Selecta wins allergy deal with Sanofi worth up to $900 mln

PARIS Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:32am EST

PARIS Nov 28 (Reuters) - U.S. vaccine company Selecta Biosciences has signed a deal worth as much as $900 million with French drugmaker Sanofi to develop therapies for life-threatening food allergies, it said on Wednesday.

Under the deal, Sanofi will have an exclusive licence to develop a first food allergy therapy, with an option to develop two more, Selecta said in a statement.

Sanofi will have access to Selecta's Synthetic Vaccine Particle platform, which engineers tiny particles that produce tolerance to specific substances that provoke allergies.

"In allergies, as well as auto-immune diseases, organ transplantation and protein-replacement therapies, there is a lack of specific, effective and safe treatments to prevent undesired immune reactions," Selecta Chief Executive Werner Cautreels said in a statement.

"Our approach addresses the underlying causes of these diseases and thereby makes advances beyond today's symptomatic treatments and allergen-avoidance strategies."

Selecta said it was entitled to receive payments totalling $300 million for each allergy therapy under the deal with Sanofi, as well as royalties on sales.

Selecta's pipeline includes vaccines for stopping smoking and malaria, and immunotherapies for Type-1 diabetes and allergies.

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