Bristol-Myers Bets Big on Gene Therapy with a $1B UniQure Deal

Monday, April 6, 2015

Source: http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/bristol-myers-bets-big-gene-therapy-1b-uniqure-deal/2015-04-06

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) is the latest pharma heavyweight to buy into gene therapy's renaissance, signing a deal with uniQure ($QURE) worth as much as $1 billion and getting its hands a novel cardiovascular treatment.

Under the agreement, Bristol-Myers will hand over $100 million in up-front payments, licensing fees and equity investments in exchange for the commercial rights to uniQure's lead candidate and three more potential therapies. The Holland headquartered-uniQure will handle all discovery and manufacturing in the collaboration, eligible for up to $254 million tied to top prospect S100A1 and $217 million for each of the three other assets. Bristol-Myers is on the hook for all R&D costs, promising its partner a royalty on future sales.

UniQure's lead candidate, picked up in an acquisition of Germany's InoCard last year, is a gene therapy that uses a harmless virus to deliver the calcium-binding protein S100A1, a master regulator of cardiac function. By boosting S100A1, the treatment has the potential to relieve symptoms of congestive heart failure, according to uniQure, and Bristol-Myers is betting its cardio expertise can push the program forward.

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