Sanofi invests in MeiraGTx and its gene-regulating technology

Dive Brief:

  • French drugmaker Sanofi has invested $30 million into MeiraGTx Holdings, a London- and New York-based developer of gene therapies, through a purchase of 4 million shares at $7.50 apiece.
  • The investment, announced by the gene therapy maker Monday, gives Sanofi the right of first negotiation to license certain MeiraGTx technology in immunology, neurology and metabolic disease settings.
  • MeiraGTx is perhaps best known for its work on gene therapies for the eye, but Monday’s deal shows its progress elsewhere. The company also signaled more transactions may be coming in the future, after being approached by “multiple” other companies interested in its work.

Dive Insight:

Sanofi’s investment comes after a disastrous end to last week, when its shares fell by almost 20% after the company adjusted its financial outlook alongside third quarter earnings. The pharmaceutical company also revealed plans to split off its consumer health business next year, a move similar to divestments done by other large drugmakers.

Shares in Sanofi recovered slightly Monday, rising by more than 3%. News of the deal with MeiraGTx gave a much greater boost to that company, sending shares in the biotech higher by nearly half at one point Monday morning.

The biotech previously secured a partnership with Johnson & Johnson on an experimental treatment for an inherited eye disorder known as retinitis pigmentosa. Early trial results showed some promise, and the therapy is now being studied in a larger Phase 3 trial.

Sanofi’s interest in MeiraGTx is outside the eye, however. Specifically, the pharma is interested in MeiraGTx’s “Riboswitch” technology for regulating targets related to immune and central nervous system conditions, as well as gut hormones like GLP-1. The latter has become the focus of a pharma industry arms race, boosted by the success of diabetes and weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

Sanofi will also hold a right of first negotiation on MeiraGTx’s program for radiation-induced xerostomia, a condition in which salivary glands are impaired or damaged.

“We look forward to working along side MeiraGTx as this innovative science moves forward to create a new generation of breakthrough medicines for immune-mediated and neurological diseases,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson in a statement.