Sanofi researchers aim to rebalance immune and inflammatory responses that drive systemic, chronic diseases.
Sanofi scientists are committed to helping people who are suffering from immune, autoimmune, and inflammation disorders that have long eluded treatment. By combining molecular, clinical, and real-world data, our R&D teams are gaining new ground in precision immunology. They apply deep knowledge of disease and an array of technologies to investigate common pathways in systemic diseases (e.g. asthma, atopic dermatitis) and peripheral inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis), as well as autoimmune challenges in type 1 diabetes and cancer.
Immunology & Inflammation Pipeline
Deepening Leadership in Type 2 inflammatory diseases
Inflammatory diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema), chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, eosinophilic esophagitis, and some environmental allergies are driven by excessive type 2 inflammation. Sanofi R&D teams are studying how to calm this response without compromising the body's ability to fight infection.
Sanofi continually generates new insights that could make a difference in the lives of patients with type 2 inflammatory diseases. For example, our collaboration with Regeneron centers on substances produced by white blood cells called interleukins, which can trigger a vicious cycle of inflammation and infection. In clinical studies, researchers are evaluating whether blocking two specific interleukins can potentially dial down inflammation and interrupt the cycle in many of these diseases.
With the addition of Principia Biopharma to the R&D community, Sanofi is also investigating other aspects of the type 2 pathway, such as mast cells (a type of white blood cell) and enzymes called tyrosine kinases. Using Tailored Covalency® technology, our teams are targeting these substances with the goal of restoring balance in the type 2 immune response and quality of life in patients.
Matching every patient to the right medicine is paramount. Precision immunology researchers at Sanofi are rising to this challenge by generating highly detailed molecular and cellular views of immune conditions. This gives them deep insights into the precise mechanisms of disease and variation between individual patients. Using single-cell genomics, genetics, and proteomics, Sanofi R&D teams are creating molecular profiles of both disease models and patients participating in clinical studies. This enables them to track the activity of genes and proteins in different cell types and observe how they change depending on the conditions and treatments at various times.
Scientists who specialize in bioinformatics, disease biology, and AI apply advanced analytics to this information–combined with real-world data about patient health–to reveal patterns and discover meaningful connections. This approach is empowering Sanofi researchers to discover targets for new, more precise therapeutics, and to reposition medicines already approved for use. It is also helping them identify biomarkers that can guide how patients are assigned to different groups in clinical studies.
Some cancer patients respond well to cancer immunotherapy drugs called immune checkpoint blockades, only later to experience an autoimmune adverse event – a situation that has become common in the oncology community. Armed with a deep understanding of how checkpoint inhibitors block immune pathways to facilitate an anti-tumor response, Sanofi researchers are studying how to modulate these same pathways for patients with autoimmune disease. Their goal is to restore the delicate balance between protective immune responses and destructive autoimmunity.
Achieving this goal will help Sanofi develop therapeutics that induce a state of permanent remission in patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Complement System: Immunology & Rare Blood Disorders
The complement system is composed of more than 30 proteins that act in concert to destroy invading pathogens. Faulty coordination in this system can lead to immune attacks on healthy cells. In immune thrombocytopenia, platelets come under attack; in cold agglutinin disease (CAD), red blood cells are the target. In the complement system, a cascade of tightly coordinated events triggers the assembly of a membrane attack complex, which bursts bacteria; the ingestion of bacteria by white blood cells; and inflammation in the surrounding tissue. To address diseases like immune thrombocytopenia and CAD, Sanofi researchers are investigating a protein called C1s in one of the pathways that initiates this cascade. Blocking C1s inhibits the cascade on one pathway, but it leaves the others intact so they may continue to detect pathogens.
Chronic Inflammatory Diseases
In some chronic inflammatory diseases, two types of T-helper immune cells (Th1/17) can trigger several types of inflammation, leading to a hyperactive immune system that attacks healthy tissues. To calm this immune response, Sanofi scientists are studying substances involved in dysregulation of Th1/17 cells, and investigating potential new therapies using multi-specific antibodies and small-molecule drug discovery platforms.