Bristol-Myers Makes Record-Breaking Deal to buy Biotech Firm

Feb 14, 2018

It’s being called one of the largest single-drug collaboration deals in history.

This week, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that it is buying partial rights to a cancer medication being developed by Nektar Therapeutics. As part of the agreement, BMS will pay $1.85 billion in cash and equity to start. If the new therapy hits all of the regulatory and sales goals, the value of the deal could reach $3.6 billion.

BMS decided to pursue the deal after promising results from a trial combining the company’s cancer immunotherapy treatment Opdivo with Nektar’s experimental drug NKTR-214. The study from 2016 showed that when used together, the treatments were effective in over half of the patients — compared to about one in five when Opdivo was used alone. NKTR-214 works by targeting a pathway called IL-2, which increases the number of cancer-fighting T-cells. 

The companies now plan to test the combo on 15,000 different cancer patients.

The deal could be one of many to come by immunotherapy developers looking to combine their treatments with new drugs being made by smaller biotech firms.

Read the full Reuters report