- Thermalin recently announced a new collaboration through which Sanofi will support two of the company’s innovative insulin programs (officially, the deal closed July 27). Thermalin’s pipeline includes ultra-rapid, ultra-concentrated, no refrigeration, oral, insulin patch, and glucose-responsive candidates, and it’s not yet public which two therapies Sanofi has invested in.
- Sanofi will assume clinical development costs for the two insulin programs, and will eventually pay royalties on commercial sales of the resulting products.
- The collaboration could ultimately generate up to $788 million in equity investments, milestone payments, and R&D services for Thermalin, of which $9 million has already been received.
- The good news doesn’t stop there… Thermalin also just announced the first closing of a Series A Preferred Financing that aims to raise $17.5 million. This round of financing is being led by Sanofi, and we’re hopeful that the influx of cash can drive some truly innovative insulin therapies through clinical development.
In a joint news release, Thermalin recently announced (i) a new partnership with Sanofi, closed July 27, to develop next-generation insulin analogs and (ii) the first closing of a Series A Preferred financing that aims to raise $17.5 million total. Both of these items could be a big push forward for the novel insulins in Thermalin’s pipeline, including ultra-rapid, ultra-concentrated, no refrigeration, oral, insulin patch, and glucose-responsive candidates. According to the announcement, the partnership with Sanofi covers two of Thermalin’s insulin programs, but the specifics of which two has not yet been disclosed. Sanofi will assume clinical development costs for these two insulins, and will eventually pay royalties on commercial sales of the resulting products. The round of $17.5 million financing is being led by Sanofi, and we’re hopeful that this influx of cash can drive forward the development of some truly innovative insulin therapies for diabetes. The collaboration could ultimately generate up to $788 million in equity investments, milestone payments, and R&D services for Thermalin, of which $9 million has already been received. We’re impressed by the breadth of work Thermalin is doing to adapt the insulin molecule to serve yet unmet needs in global diabetes care (an ultra-stable therapy that doesn’t require refrigeration could be useful in developing countries, an ultra-rapid-acting or glucose-responsive insulin could substantially bring down hypoglycemia risk, an ultra-concentrated product might pave the way toward smaller insulin pumps, etc.). Teamed-up with Sanofi, a company with extensive history in insulin manufacturing (not to mention a large diabetes pharmaceutical business), we imagine Thermalin’s early-stage candidates could go far in clinical development, toward the commercial market. In an interview with our team, Thermalin co-founder and CEO Mr. Richard Berenson expressed tremendous enthusiasm about the partnership: “We believe, with Sanofi, we can get these next-generation insulins out of our lab, into development, and into patients’ hands.” While the insulin competitive landscape is robust and Thermalin’s candidates are early-stage, this significant investment from Sanofi is an encouraging show of confidence.
- Dr. Michael Weiss, co-founder of Thermalin, will move to Indianapolis at the end of 2017 to chair the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine – and Thermalin will collaborate with his new lab there. The initial collaboration will involve two or three researchers working with an IU lab. After Dr. Weiss settles in, Thermalin may establish an 800 square-foot lab in Indianapolis (for reference, Thermalin’s main Cleveland lab is 2,800 square feet). Dr. Weiss will also be leading scientific work for IU’s Precision Health Initiative, which is working to cure one cancer and one childhood disease, and to prevent one chronic illness and one neurodegenerative disease. IU plans to spend up to $120 million on these efforts, and we hope Dr. Weiss’ career-long work on insulin will benefit from the innovative environment IU is fostering.
-- by Ann Carracher, Payal Marathe, and Kelly Close