4:08 PM
 | 
Dec 01, 2017
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Branching out

How Regeneron is using deals to enter new disease areas outside its pipeline

Decibel Therapeutics Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. have embarked on a deal that gives the smaller company a suite of technologies it could not build itself, while giving the big cap a stake in a new therapeutic area it wouldn’t have entered on its own.

The collaboration at the deal’s heart is unusual, and is part of the big cap’s strategy to deploy its technologies into new therapeutic areas without losing focus or smothering its smaller partners.

“They prized our independence as much as we prized our independence,” said Decibel President and CEO Steven Holtzman.

Regeneron and Decibel scientists will work side by side on Decibel’s discovery and preclinical programs in hearing loss and tinnitus, and each partner will contribute 50% of the combined cost, staffing and scientific capabilities for up to seven years.

But Decibel retains all the clinical development and commercial rights. Regeneron received an undisclosed minority equity stake in Decibel and is eligible for royalties.

Regeneron itself has been fiercely independent, famously entering a broad deal with Sanofi in 2007 that provided the financial security to develop its own business. The deal, which expires at year end, gave Sanofi exclusive options to all antibody candidates generated by the biotech’s VelociSuite platform.

“They prized our independence as much as we prized our independence.”

Steven Holtzman, Decibel

That deal included $85 million up front and a $312...

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