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Bristol-Myers signs cancer drug deal

Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed a partnership deal with China's Simcere Pharmaceutical Group to co-develop a preclinical drug for cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has signed a partnership deal with China's Simcere Pharmaceutical Group to co-develop a preclinical drug for cancer.

The drug, currently referred to as BMS-817378, is small-molecule MET/VEGFR-2 inhibitor.

The deal, for which financial terms were not disclosed, gives Simcere exclusive rights to develop and commercialise BMS-817378 in China, while BMS retains exclusive rights in all other markets. The companies will jointly determine the strategic development plan, which will initially be performed by Simcere.

"This partnership represents a novel development-stage relationship for Bristol-Myers Squibb with a Chinese company, and a novel partnership approach for Bristol-Myers Squibb to leverage its early-stage pipeline in support of its biopharma strategy," the US company said.

First-in-human studies of the drug will be conducted in China, giving researchers access to "the vast patient pool" available there, according to Simcere Pharmaceutical.

Simcere manufactures branded generic pharmaceuticals, as well as the patented anti-angiogenesis cancer drug Endu, which is also known as Endostar.

BMS' existing cancer-drug portfolio includes Erbitux (cetuximab), Ixempra (ixabepilone) and Sprycel (dasatinib). Its development pipeline also includes a number of experimental drugs for various types of cancer.

Under a strategy made public several years ago, BMS plans more R&D and clinical studies in China through at least the year 2020, both because China is becoming a crucial market and because conducting trials in China can cut R&D costs.

4th November 2010

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