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Sanofi (SNY) to Acquire Amunix, Boost Immuno-oncology Pipeline

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Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire privately-held, immuno-oncology company, Amunix Pharmaceuticals, for an upfront payment of approximately $1 billion.

The acquisition of Amunix will add potentially transformative cancer therapies and three technology platforms to Sanofi’s pipeline.

Amunix’s proprietary masking technology platform, XTEN, will help Sanofi develop safer and more efficacious cancer drugs by activating preferentially in disease-specific micro-environments. The platform has the potential to discover T-Cell Engager bi-specific antibodies for solid tumors without the risk of unwanted immune attack including cytokine release syndrome. The masking technology also enables the development of drugs that can stay in the patient’s body for a long time in inactive mode but is rapidly cleared from the body as it reaches disease-specific cells. Amunix’s masking technology can be applied to discover new drug molecules as well as to Sanofi’s existing pipeline candidates.

Amunix has no clinical-stage candidate in its pipeline. Its lead pipeline candidate, AMX-818 — developed using the XTEN platform — is being developed for targeting HER2-expressing solid tumors. The candidate is likely to enter clinical study shortly.

Sanofi already has approximately 20 innovative cancer therapies under development and the Amunix buyout is believed to boost its immuno-oncology pipeline.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. In addition to the upfront payment, Sanofi will also be entitled to pay up to $225 million in milestone payments to Amunix’s shareholders upon achievement of certain future development milestones.

Sanofi’s shares have gained 0.9% so far this year compared with the industry’s increase of 19%.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Sanofi has significantly stepped up its acquisition and alliance activity over the past few years to boost its pipeline and portfolio of drugs.

In September, Sanofi acquired its partner for some pipeline candidates, Translate Bio for approximately $3.2 billion. The acquisition added a promising mRNA technology platform to develop therapeutics and vaccines and also accelerate the development of their existing partnered pipeline programs. The company also acquired two clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies, Kiadis and Kymab, in April. These acquisitions added natural-killer cell therapies, and immune and inflammatory candidates to its pipeline.

Sanofi acquired another biopharma company, Kadmon Holdings, last month adding an FDA-approved treatment for chronic graft-versus-host disease, Rezurock, to its commercialized portfolio.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Sanofi currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks from the pharma/biotech sector include GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Free Report) , Repligen (RGEN - Free Report) and Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT - Free Report) . While Repligen sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Glaxo and Sarepta carry a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Earnings per share estimates for Glaxo have increased from $2.82 to $3.05 for 2021 and from $3.08 to $3.25 for 2022 in the past 60 days.

Glaxo delivered an earnings surprise of 15.28%, on average, in the last four quarters. GSK’s shares are up 17% so far this year.

Earnings per share estimates for Repligen have moved north from $2.76 to $2.90 for 2021 and from $3.03 to $3.21 for 2022 in the past 60 days.

Repligen delivered an earnings surprise of 49.21%, on average, in the last four quarters. RGEN’s shares are up 40.7% so far this year.

Estimates for 2021 have narrowed from a loss of $6.95 to $4.99 for Sarepta in the past 60 days. Estimates for Sarepta’s 2022 bottom line have changed from a loss per share of $4.78 to earnings per share of $3.61 in the past 60 days.

Sarepta delivered an earnings surprise of 11.06%, on average, in the last four quarters.