US-based biotechnology firm Kymera Therapeutics has collaborated with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi to develop and commercialise protein degrader therapies targeting IRAK4 in patients with immune-inflammatory diseases.

IRAK4 is an important protein involved in inflammation mediated by the activation of toll-like receptors (TLRs) and IL-1 receptors (IL-1Rs) and is believed to play a key role in various immune-inflammatory diseases, including hidradenitis suppurativa, atopic dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The TLR and IL-1R signalling through IRAK4 is associated with the normal immune response, whose aberrant activation would cause multiple immune-inflammatory conditions.

Kymera Therapeutics co-founder, president and CEO Nello Mainolfi said: “This is an important collaboration for both companies and for the field of targeted protein degradation. Kymera is becoming a fully integrated biotechnology company advancing a pipeline of novel therapies with the potential to transform treatment paradigms.

“We are excited to partner with Sanofi, an organisation with world-class drug development and commercialisation capabilities, to ensure maximal patient impact from two of our programs across multiple disease indications, while enabling Kymera to invest in key strategic areas to realise the broad potential of protein degrader therapies.”

Sanofi will pay $150m for global rights to develop IRAK4 protein degraders

Under terms of the collaboration, Sanofi will pay upfront $150m in cash to Kymera for global rights to develop the small molecule IRAK4 protein degraders in inflammation and immunology indications

Kymera will also receive more than $2bn upon achievement of development, regulatory and sales of the products, along with royalty payments.

Also, the companies will partner on a second earlier stage programme, where Kymera holds the option to participate in the development of both programmes in the US during clinical development, and Sanofi will lead all clinical development activities for the second programme.

Kymera will retain global rights to its IRAK4 programme in oncology indications and is planning to advance the IRAK4 programme through Phase 1 clinical trials, followed by clinical development and commercialisation by Sanofi.

Sanofi research and development global head John Reed said: “Targeted protein degradation is an exciting modality.

“Kymera has developed an incredible drug discovery engine producing protein degraders with compelling and differentiated pharmacology against targets that, to date, have not been optimally addressed with other therapeutic modalities.

“We are excited to partner with the Kymera team to advance a new generation of first-in-class therapies with the potential to eliminate underlying drivers of disease.”