First Wave BioPharma to repurpose Sanofi’s Capeserod for gastrointestinal indications

First Wave BioPharma, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of targeted, non-systemic therapies for gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, has announced an agreement with Sanofi to license Capeserod, a selective 5-HT4 receptor partial agonist, which First Wave will repurpose and develop for gastrointestinal (GI) indications.

Under the terms of the agreement, First Wave will receive from Sanofi an exclusive, global license for Capeserod and will assume responsibility for all future clinical development. The licensing agreement, which includes a modest upfront payment, backend milestone payments and single digit royalties on net sales, provides a right of first refusal for Sanofi to reacquire Capeserod following certain stages of clinical development and to commercialize the product.

Sanofi’s research on Capeserod and the subsequent artificial intelligence (AI)-empowered analyses suggest that the drug’s mechanism of action has potential applications for several gastrointestinal disorders in multibillion-dollar markets where there are significant unmet clinical needs.

Sanofi previously conducted seven Phase 1 and two Phase 2 trials investigating the potential of Capeserod for neurological disorders. In these trials, involving over 600 patients, Capeserod appeared safe and well-tolerated. First Wave will immediately request a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a development and regulatory pathway for Capeserod in GI diseases with the intent to initiate clinical trials in 2024.

“Securing an exclusive, worldwide license from Sanofi for Capeserod is potentially a transformative event for First Wave that adds a drug with a well-documented safety profile to our GI-focused development pipeline,” said James Sapirstein, president and CEO of First Wave.

“Capeserod has been investigated in multiple clinical trials involving over 600 patients and through this research and AI-based analyses evidence emerged suggesting the drug possesses a unique mechanism of action that is applicable to several GI indications underserved by currently available therapeutics. We intend to immediately initiate discussions with the FDA focused on a development and regulatory plan that would enable us to begin Phase 2 clinical trials of Capeserod in 2024.”

Mr. Sapirstein continued: “First Wave is excited by the opportunity to advance the development of Capeserod in this new indication, and we are supportive of Sanofi’s outlook on AI and its potential to expand the druggable universe, expedite the drug screening process to find disease drivers and potential drug candidates, and lower R&D expenses.”

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