- Bioverativ Inc. and Bicycle Therapeutics Ltd. are combining their research capabilities to identify new treatments for blood disorders, specifically hemophilia and sickle cell disease.
- Through a deal announced Wednesday, Bioverativ is handing its partner $10 million upfront plus $4.2 million in near-term R&D funding, and offering as much as $410 million in future milestone payments. Should any of the candidates under investigation make it to market, Bicycle may also reap tiered single- to low double-digit royalties tied to product sales.
- As for drug development, Bicycle is in charge of the discovery and lead optimization stages and will receive reimbursement from Bioverativ for internal and external program-related costs. Bioverativ, meanwhile, takes control of the programs from the preclinical stage to commercialization.
Following Bioverativ's acquisition of True North Therapeutics Inc. in May, company CEO John Cox told BioPharma Dive more dealmaking could be in the cards, especially around early-stage rare disease assets.
This latest collaboration appears to follow through with that strategy, in addition to furthering Bioverativ's goal of expanding its pipeline and portfolio.
When the company officially spun out from Biogen Inc. in early February, it had two marketed hemophilia products, Eloctate (antihemophilic factor recombinant) and Alprolix (coagulation factor IX recombinant), but nothing really substantial waiting in the wings. While Eloctate and Alprolix have proven profitable, they are also in a market that is growing increasingly crowded as rival pharmas develop long-acting treatments and gene therapies.
Sensing that threat, Biogen leadership had been preparing Bioverativ for the spinoff, arming it with two gene therapy programs that Biogen and Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. were developing. The programs target the blood disorders beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease, respectively, and are in preclinical testing.
What's more, the more recent True North acquisition gave Bioverativ access to another pair of candidates, including TNT009 (now BIVV009), a drug under investigation for cold agglutinin disease that Bioverativ plans to push into Phase 3 trials before 2018.
The newly inked research collaboration, meanwhile, will use Bicycle's technology program to identify bicyclic peptides that can treat rare blood disorders. Bicyclic peptides, also called bicycles, offer targeted therapy in a manner similar to antibodies.
Bioverativ and Bicycle didn't disclose further financial or operational aspects of the collaboration in a Sept. 6 statement.