Little meets large: Bicycle inks deal with AstraZeneca
- Small UK biotech Bicycle Therapeutics has inked a multi-target partnership with AstraZeneca aimed at identifying and developing the company's proprietary bicyclic peptides into drug candidates for respiratory, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
- Per the deal, Bicycle will be responsible for tagging "bicycles" for a undisclosed number of targets, while AstraZeneca will take on R&D and commercialization for those peptides selected.
- Specific financial details on upfront and milestone payments were not disclosed, although Bicycle — perhaps looking through rose-tinted glasses — did tout a potential total deal value of $1 billion if all planned programs reach the market.
AstraZeneca has been narrowing its therapeutic focus, shedding non-core assets in externalization deals and building its pipeline in oncology, respiratory disease and cardiovascular/metabolic disease.
The deal with Bicycle fits neatly into that strategy by securing access to the biotech's portfolio of small molecule peptides.
"The bicycle platform expands our drug discovery capabilities and enables us to broaden the range of targets we can prosecute across a range of disease indications." said Menelas Pangalos, head of Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit at AstraZeneca.
Bicycle's compounds are small bicyclic peptides between 9 and 15 amino acids long. According to the biotech, the peptides combine the specificity and affinity of antibodies with the dosing flexibility and solubility of small molecules.
Up until now, Bicycle's focus has been on oncology, so this will provide the biotech with an opportunity to expand its therapeutic scope to indications outside of its core focus.
On the other other side of the deal, AstraZeneca is in a tough spot, facing flagging revenue from aging mainstay drugs such as Crestor. At the same time, CEO Pascal Soriot has set a lofty revenue goal of $45 billion in annual revenues by 2023.
While new drugs like Tagrisso have seen promising early commercial returns, AstraZeneca has turned to asset sales to make up revenue gaps in the near term. In October, for example, the British pharma out-licensed rights to a number of drugs through five externalization deals, picking up over $800 million in near-term upfront and closing payments.
- Bicycle Therapeutics Statement
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