Heavyweight Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY) Invests $1 Billion By Signing A Deal with Uniqure NV (QURE)
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) has invested $1 billion in gene therapy company Uniqure NV (NASDAQ:QURE). The move gives Bristol-Myers Squibb exposure to a key cardiovascular therapy and other drug candidates.
Under the deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) will pay more than $100 million upfront to Uniqure and also assume research and development costs. In exchange, Uniqure will surrender the marketing rights to its four drug candidates, including its lead candidate, to Bristol-Myers Squibb.
$254 million for lead asset
The Holland-based Uniqure will be eligible to receive about $254 million in payments for its top drug candidate and $217 million for each of the remaining three assets.
Uniqure NV (NASDAQ:QURE)’s lead candidate is a S100A1 booster, meaning that it is designed to help with congestive heart failure. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) hopes that its expertise in the cardiology field will enable it to turn the lead candidate into a blockbuster. Uniqure tapped the lead candidate through its acquisition of InoCard, a German company, in 2014.
Most of the gene therapy projects today focus on rare diseases, such as familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency. Uniqure NV (NASDAQ:QURE) is one company that has had impressive success in the gene therapy space. Its Glybera treatment, designed for familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency, made history in 2012 as the first drug to gain global approval. The company’s lead candidate is also showing indications for potentially massive success, given that it appeals to a huge patient population.
According to Uniqure’s CEO, Joern Aldag, the success of their lead candidate could potentially ignite interest in gene therapies.
Other big names in gene therapy
Several major drug companies are turning the focus on gene therapy. Following its deal with Uniqure, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) joins the ranks of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Bayer AG (ADR) (OTCMKTS:BAYRY) and Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY), which are some of the drug heavyweights that have recently bought into gene therapy. Other players, such as Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), have made gene therapy projects an independent research and development vertical.
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