Roche, Bio­gen hand­ing over $470M in cash to bag two drug pro­grams from Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb

Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb has forged a pair of sep­a­rate pacts with Roche and Bio­gen to out­li­cense two drugs, grab­bing a whop­ping $470 mil­lion up­front for the deals.

Bio­gen gets con­trol of BMS-986168, an an­ti-eTau com­pound in clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for Pro­gres­sive Supranu­clear Pal­sy, for $300 mil­lion up­front and $410 mil­lion in mile­stones. And Roche gets BMS-986089, an an­ti-myo­statin Ad­nectin in de­vel­op­ment for Duchenne mus­cu­lar dy­s­tro­phy. Roche is pay­ing $170 mil­lion plus $205 mil­lion in mile­stones.

Thomas Lynch, BMS

Bio­gen is al­so as­sum­ing the oblig­a­tions Bris­tol-My­ers took on when it ac­quired iP­ier­ian in 2014 for $175 mil­lion in cash and $550 mil­lion in mile­stones. That deal fo­cused heav­i­ly on the tau pro­gram, along with Bris­tol’s in­ter­est in pur­su­ing it as a com­bo for Alzheimer’s — which odd­ly ar­rived months af­ter Bris­tol’s de­ci­sion to re­treat from neu­ro­sciences work in 2013. But in re­cent years Bris­tol’s in­ter­est in Alzheimer’s has fad­ed, while Bio­gen has been ex­cit­ing the in­dus­try with ear­ly-stage da­ta on ad­u­canum­ab, an amy­loid ther­a­py.

The deals to­tal about $1.1 bil­lion, plus prospec­tive roy­al­ties.

Roche is get­ting its myo­statin drug in Phase I, ac­cord­ing to a spokesper­son at Bris­tol-My­ers.Bris­tol orig­i­nal­ly ac­quired it way back in 2007 with the $505 mil­lion deal to buy Ad­nexus, which orig­i­nal­ly de­vel­oped Ad­nectins.

Bio­gen says it will now launch the Phase II stud­ies for its drug in both Alzheimer’s dis­ease as well as PSP. Notes Baird’s Bri­an Sko­r­ney:

Ad­di­tion of BMS-986168 ex­pands Bio­gen’s port­fo­lio in Alzheimer’s, which al­ready in­cludes an­ti-tau and an­ti-Aβ (ad­u­canum­ab, BAN2401 with Ei­sai) pro­grams and BACE in­hibitor E2609, through a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ei­sai.

“Bio­gen aims to be a leader in Alzheimer’s dis­ease and we are build­ing a pipeline with mul­ti­ple ap­proach­es to ad­dress the com­plex, dev­as­tat­ing process of neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion,” said Michael Ehlers, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, re­search & de­vel­op­ment. “Based on en­cour­ag­ing safe­ty and ef­fi­ca­cy da­ta, we be­lieve BMS-986168 is a promis­ing an­ti-tau can­di­date that may rep­re­sent the next wave of med­i­cines for Alzheimer’s dis­ease as well as the first re­al an­swer for pro­gres­sive supranu­clear pal­sy.”

Bio­gen has been un­der in­tense pres­sure to add new drugs to its pipeline, which is con­cen­trat­ed on neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions. Roche, though, has been com­ing through with a va­ri­ety of ma­jor league ap­provals, in­clud­ing the re­cent OK for Ocre­vus, and has been choosy about what it wants to add to the pipeline.

Bris­tol-My­ers, mean­while, has been shak­ing up its R&D group in re­cent months, af­ter the fi­as­co with the check­point Op­di­vo as it slipped be­hind Mer­ck’s Keytru­da on non-small cell lung can­cer. Bris­tol-My­ers brought in a new R&D chief, Thomas Lynch, and has been se­lec­tive­ly look­ing for ways to econ­o­mize as it looks to make a come­back in a field that it helped to pi­o­neer.


“Li­cens­ing these as­sets to Bio­gen and Roche will en­able Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb to pri­or­i­tize the oth­er promis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for as­set de­vel­op­ment that have ad­vanced across our di­ver­si­fied port­fo­lio,” said Mike Burgess, head of Car­dio­vas­cu­lar, Fi­bro­sis and Im­muno­science De­vel­op­ment, Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb. “We rec­og­nize the sig­nif­i­cant un­met med­ical needs for pa­tients with PSP and with DMD, and are pleased to put the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of these com­pounds in­to the hands of Bio­gen and Roche, who both have strong ca­pa­bil­i­ties, fo­cus and lead­er­ship in neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive and rare dis­eases.”

Im­ple­ment­ing re­silience in the clin­i­cal tri­al sup­ply chain

Since January 2020, the clinical trials ecosystem has quickly evolved to manage roadblocks impeding clinical trial integrity, and patient care and safety amid a global pandemic. Closed borders, reduced air traffic and delayed or canceled flights disrupted global distribution, revealing how flexible logistics and supply chains can secure the timely delivery of clinical drug products and therapies to sites and patients.

In fi­nal days at Mer­ck, Roger Perl­mut­ter bets big on a lit­tle-known Covid-19 treat­ment

Roger Perlmutter is spending his last days at Merck, well, spending.

Two weeks after snapping up the antibody-drug conjugate biotech VelosBio for $2.75 billion, Merck announced today that it had purchased OncoImmune and its experimental Covid-19 drug for $425 million. The drug, known as CD24Fc, appeared to reduce the risk of respiratory failure or death in severe Covid-19 patients by 50% in a 203-person Phase III trial, OncoImmune said in September.

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Pascal Soriot (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: As­traZeneca, Ox­ford on the de­fen­sive as skep­tics dis­miss 70% av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy for Covid-19 vac­cine

On the third straight Monday that the world wakes up to positive vaccine news, AstraZeneca and Oxford are declaring a new Phase III milestone in the fight against the pandemic. Not everyone is convinced they will play a big part, though.

With an average efficacy of 70%, the headline number struck analysts as less impressive than the 95% and 94.5% protection that Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have boasted in the past two weeks, respectively. But the British partners say they have several other bright spots going for their candidate. One of the two dosing regimens tested in Phase III showed a better profile, bringing efficacy up to 90%; the adenovirus vector-based vaccine requires minimal refrigeration, which may mean easier distribution; and AstraZeneca has pledged to sell it at a fraction of the price that the other two vaccine developers are charging.

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John Maraganore, Alnylam CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Al­ny­lam gets the green light from the FDA for drug #3 — and CEO John Maraganore is ready to roll

Score another early win at the FDA for Alnylam.

The FDA put out word today that the agency has approved its third drug, lumasiran, for primary hyperoxaluria type 1, better known as PH1. The news comes just 4 days after the European Commission took the lead in offering a green light.

An ultra rare genetic condition, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore says there are only some 1,000 to 1,700 patients in the US and Europe at any particular point. The patients, mostly kids, suffer from an overproduction of oxalate in the liver that spurs the development of kidney stones, right through to end stage kidney disease.

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Bob Nelsen (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

Bob Nelsen rais­es $800M and re­cruits a star-stud­ded board to build the 'Fox­con­n' of biotech

Bob Nelsen spent his pandemic spring in his Seattle home, talking on the phone with Luciana Borio, the scientist who used to run pandemic preparedness on the National Security Council, and fuming with her about the dire state of American manufacturing.

Companies were rushing to develop vaccines and antibodies for the new virus, but even if they succeeded, there was no immediate supply chain or infrastructure to mass-produce them in a way that could make a dent in the outbreak.

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Carl Hansen, AbCellera CEO (University of British Columbia)

From a pair of Air Jor­dans to a $200M-plus IPO, Carl Hansen is craft­ing an overnight R&D for­tune fu­eled by Covid-19

Back in the summer of 2019, Carl Hansen left his post as a professor at the University of British Columbia to go full time as the CEO at a low-profile antibody shop he had founded called AbCellera.

As biotech CEOs go, even after a fundraise Hansen wasn’t paid a whole heck of a lot. He ended up earning right at $250,000 for the year. His compensation package included a loan — which he later paid back — and a pair of Air Jordan tennis shoes. His newly-hired CFO, Andrew Booth, got a sweeter pay packet than that — which included his own pair of Air Jordans.

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Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Trail­ing Eli Lil­ly by 12 days, Re­gen­eron gets the FDA OK for their Covid-19 an­ti­body cock­tail

A month and a half after becoming the experimental treatment of choice for a newly diagnosed president, Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has received emergency use authorization from the FDA. It will be used to treat non-hospitalized Covid-19 patients who are at high-risk of progressing.

Although the Rgeneron drug is not the first antibody treatment authorized by the FDA, the news comes as a significant milestone for a company and a treatment scientists have watched closely since the outbreak began.

Bahija Jallal (file photo)

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Bahija Jallal’s crew at TCR pioneer Immunocore says they have nailed down a promising set of pivotal data for their lead drug in a frontline setting for a solid tumor. And they are framing this early interim readout as the convincing snapshot they need to prove that their platform can deliver on a string of breakthrough therapies now in the clinic or planned for it.

In advance of the Monday announcement, Jallal and R&D chief David Berman took some time to walk me through the first round of Phase III data for their lead TCR designed to treat rare, frontline cases of metastatic uveal melanoma that come with a grim set of survival expectations.

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Simeon George, SR One CEO (SR One)

Scoop: SR One crew com­pletes a com­pli­cat­ed spin­out from Glax­o­SmithK­line. And now they have a $500M fund to in­vest on their own

It’s taken close to 2 years, but Simeon George and his team at SR One have completed their spinout from GlaxoSmithKline, ending a saga as one of the longest running venture arms of Big Pharma as they go out on their own to forge the next chapter with a new and independent $500 million fund.

GSK is sticking with the spinout, this time as a minority investor — though a big one. And I’m told that the R&D group at GSK will remain involved in evaluating their new plays, helping with the scientific due diligence involved in scouting the world for new opportunities during a period of explosive growth in biotech investing.

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