Bristol-Myers Squibb gets $470 million upfront under licensing deals with Biogen, Roche

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Thursday separate agreements with total upfront payments of $470 million to out-license two experimental drugs under development for neurodegenerative conditions to Biogen and Roche. Mike Burgess, head of cardiovascular, fibrosis and immunoscience development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said the deals will allow the company "to prioritise the other promising opportunities for asset development that have advanced across our diversified portfolio."

Under the first agreement, Biogen will make an upfront payment of $300 million for global rights to the anti-eTau compound BMS-986168, with Bristol-Myers Squibb eligible for further milestone payments of up to $410 million. The companies noted that Biogen will also assume all remaining obligations to the former stockholders of iPierian related to Bristol-Myers Squibb's acquisition of the drugmaker in 2014. Biogen said that this could result in the company paying up to $550 million in remaining milestones plus royalties, including a near-term $60-million milestone.

According to Bristol-Myers Squibb, BMS-986168 is currently being investigated as a treatment for patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Biogen indicated that it plans to "rapidly" initiate Phase II studies for the monoclonal antibody in both PSP and Alzheimer's disease. Michael Ehlers, executive vice president of R&D at Biogen, remarked "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 [PSP]."

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As part of the second deal, Roche will make an upfront payment of $170 million to Bristol-Myers Squibb for rights to the anti-myostatin adnectin BMS-986089, with the accord also including potential milestone payments of up to $205 million. Bristol-Myers Squibb noted that the drug is currently being investigated as a treatment option for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and has the potential for study in other neuromuscular disorders.

Bristol-Myers Squibb added that it will receive tiered double-digit royalties if either BMS-986168 or BMS-986089 is approved and commercialised.

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