Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has acquired Cormorant Pharmaceuticals, a Sweden-based developer of cancer and rare-disease therapies, for up to $520 million, in a deal designed to broaden the buyer’s oncology pipeline, the companies said today.
The deal gives BMS full rights to Cormorant’s HuMax-IL8 antibody program and lead candidate HuMax-IL8, a Phase I/II monoclonal antibody targeted against interleukin-8 (IL-8) that represents a potentially complementary immuno-oncology mechanism of action to T-cell directed antibodies and co-stimulatory molecules.
BMS says IL-8 is a protein expressed by many solid tumors within the tumor microenvironment that suppresses the immune system and increases the ability of tumors to metastasize. By targeting IL-8, HuMax-IL8 offers the potential to enhance immune response and increase the efficacy of existing cancer medicines through combination therapy. The rights to HuMax-IL8 were acquired by Cormorant from Genmab A/S in 2012 under an exclusive license agreement.
The transaction includes upfront and near term contingent milestone payments of up to US $95 million and additional contingent consideration of up to US $425 million upon the achievement by Bristol-Myers Squibb of certain development and regulatory milestones.