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BMS strikes $350m deal to boost its immuno-oncology pipeline

Will collaborate with US biotech Five Prime Therapeutics

Bristol-Myers Scquibb (BMS)Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed a $350m deal to boost its immuno-oncology pipeline, following through on its promise last year to increase its investment in the area.

The pharma company will collaborate with San Francisco-based biotech Five Prime Therapeutics to discover, develop and commercialise novel immuno-oncology therapies.

BMS prioritised immuno-oncology, which involves research into how a body's own immune system can fight cancer, in November when it discontinued discovery research in neuroscience, hepatitis C and diabetes.

Its new deal with Five Prime will focus on targets identified in two undisclosed immune checkpoint pathways using the biotech's proprietary target discovery platform.

The agreement will also see BMS tap into Five Prime's platform to advance its existing immuno-oncology programmes by identifying the most viable drug targets for continued research and development.

Drug candidates developed against these new and existing targets may be studied either as single agents or in combination with existing or potential BMS immuno-oncology therapies.

The company's chief scientific officer, Francis Cuss, said: “Immuno-oncology has the potential to be transformational in the treatment of cancer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb has an extensive clinical pipeline and discovery programmes dedicated to maximising this field of research.

“Five Prime's innovative technology platforms complement our immuno-oncology pipeline and will help expand our understanding of promising new therapeutic options for patients.”

BMS will pay $20m upfront and then $9.5m in research funding in return for exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialise products directed toward certain protein targets identified by Five Prime.

The biotech could also be in line for development, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments of up to $300m and has sold BMS 4.9 per cent of its stock at a 30 per cent premium for approximately $21m.

Lewis Williams, president and CEO of Five Prime, said: “This strategic alliance is evidence that our protein discovery platform is ideally suited to identify novel immune checkpoint targets for the development of next generation immuno-oncology therapeutics.”

Five Prime, which focuses on discovering and developing novel protein therapeutics for cancer and inflammatory diseases, has previously collaborated with big pharma companies that include GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

18th March 2014

From: Research



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