Lead Pharma, a pharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it has achieved the first milestone under its research collaboration with Sanofi, triggering an undisclosed milestone payment. The collaboration aims to develop small molecules directed against the nuclear hormone receptor ROR gamma (t) for the treatment of a broad range of autoimmune disorders, including common diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

In February 2015, Lead Pharma and Sanofi announced a research collaboration and licensing agreement to discover, develop and commercialize small molecule therapies directed against ROR gamma (t), a key regulator of immune cells called T-helper 17 (Th17) cells. The current milestone payment follows an initial upfront cash payment at the start of the collaboration. Lead Pharma is eligible to receive further milestone payments and entitled to receive royalty payments on global sales from any resulting products. Financial details were not disclosed.

“We are delighted to have achieved the first milestone in our collaboration with Sanofi within nine months after the start of the collaboration,” said Ad van Gorp, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lead Pharma. “This result demonstrates the strength of our partnership and exhibits the rapid progress we are making with the development of novel medications for the treatment of a range of autoimmune disorders.”