Sanofi has agreed to make $180m equity investment in, and enter into a new strategic partnership with France-based AI and federated learning start-up Owkin.

Under the terms of the collaboration, the two companies will work together to identify and develop new therapeutics across four types of cancer, using Owkin’s platform.

In addition to $180m equity investment in exchange for 10 to 15% stake in Owkin, Sanofi will make a payment of $90m, along with research milestone-based payments.

Owkin leverages AI-based predictive algorithms and data sets to improve the research and development of new therapeutics against cancer.

Sanofi research and development global head John Reed said: “We look forward to working with our colleagues at Owkin to analyze data from hundreds of thousands of patients.

“Sanofi’s investment in the company includes a three-year agreement that will help discover and develop new treatments for non-small cell lung cancer, triple negative breast cancer, mesothelioma and multiple myeloma.

“This partnership will help accelerate our ambitious oncology program as we advance a rich pipeline of medicines to address unmet patient needs.”

According to Sanofi, the collaboration will support its oncology portfolio in core areas such as lung cancer, breast cancer and multiple myeloma.

Owkin offers federated learning that facilitates data scientists to securely connect to decentralised, multi-party data sets and train AI models eliminating the need to pool data.

The approach is said to complement Sanofi’s capabilities in oncology, as it applies Owkin’s advanced technology platforms to design cancer drugs.

Also, the company will use Owkin platform to identify new biomarkers and therapeutic targets, building prognostic models, and predicting treatment response from patient data.

Owkin will use the Sanofi’s investment to support its development and enhance the histology and genomic cancer database from top oncology centres.

Owkin co-founder and CEO Thomas Clozel said: “Owkin’s mission is to improve patient’s lives by using our platform to discover and develop the right treatment for every patient.

“We believe that the future of precision medicine lies in technologies that can unlock insights from the vast amount of patient data in hospitals and research centers in a privacy-preserving and secure way.

“This landmark partnership with Sanofi will see federated learning used to create research collaborations at a truly unprecedented scale.

“The future of AI to transform how we develop treatments is incredibly bright, and we are proud to partner with Sanofi on this mission.”