Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb president of research and early development (BMS)

Bris­tol My­ers hun­kers down at the deals ta­ble, ex­e­cut­ing a new I/O play in biotech buy­out

A week af­ter Bris­tol My­ers Squibb plunked down $475 mil­lion up­front to part­ner with Drag­on­fly on an IL-12 pro­gram — which fits neat­ly in­to the broad ef­fort to ex­pand their big im­muno-on­col­o­gy ef­fort — their ear­ly-stage R&D chief Ru­pert Vessey has snapped up a biotech whose pipeline match­es their on­col­o­gy deal pro­file.

This time the deal cen­ters on a lit­tle play­er called For­bius, which has a lead drug called AVID200, the tip of their TGF-be­ta pro­gram spear that looks to use the cy­tokine to reg­u­late the im­mune sys­tem. As Vessey notes in his at­tached state­ment, that presents one new way to serve pa­tients not cur­rent­ly helped by Op­di­vo or oth­er im­munother­a­pies, as TGF-be­ta 1 & 3 in­hi­bi­tion is syn­er­gis­tic with I/O.

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