Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Bristol-Myers Squibb to acquire IFM Therapeutics to expand cancer pipeline

PBR Staff Writer Published 04 August 2017

Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to acquire Boston-based IFM Therapeutics for an upfront payment of $300m to strengthen its oncology pipeline.

A venture-backed biotech company, IFM Therapeutics is into developing therapies that regulate novel targets in the innate immune system for the treatment of cancer, autoimmunity and inflammatory disorders.

Through the acquisition, Bristol-Myers Squibb will get full rights to the preclinical STING (stimulator of interferon genes) and NLRP3 agonist programs of IFM which are focused on improving the innate immune response for cancer treatment.

Bristol-Myers Squibb executive vice president, chief scientific officer Thomas Lynch said: “Targeting innate immunity pathways represents a potentially differentiated approach in immuno-oncology designed to initiate and augment immune responses that may help the body’s natural defenses better recognize and attack tumors.

“The addition of STING and NLRP3 agonist programs broadens our ability to investigate additional pathways across the immune system and complements our immuno-oncology portfolio.”

As per the terms of the deal, IFM can potentially earn $1.01bn from Bristol-Myers Squibb for the two programs in the form of milestone payments based on their achievement of certain development, regulatory and sales milestones.

Further, IFM is entitled for more contingent milestone payments for future products developed from the two agonist programs.

IFM Therapeutics CEO and co-founder Gary D. Glick said: “A comprehensive body of preclinical data support the continued research of IFM’s NLRP3 and STING agonists with a goal of uncovering their potential benefit to patients, particularly those not served by currently available cancer immunotherapeutics.

“Based on its deep expertise and leadership positions in immunology, oncology, and immuno-oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb is uniquely positioned to accelerate these programs and maximize their potential.”

According to Bristol-Myers Squibb, a new entity will be formed in connection with the acquisition by the existing shareholders of IFM - IFM Therapeutics. The entity will retain the current personnel and facilities and remaining research programs of IFM.

The deal has been cleared by the boards of directors of the two companies and by IFM stockholders. Its closing will need a clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act among other customary closing conditions.

If everything goes as planned by the companies, then the transaction is likely to be completed during the third quarter of the year.

Image: A research campus operated by Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Coolcaesar at English Wikipedia.