Bristol-Myers Invests in UniQure in Heart Disease Pact

Posted: April 7, 2015 at 2:42 am

By Dow Jones Business News, April 06, 2015, 08:36:00 AM EDT

By Angela Chen

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to invest in the Dutch company UniQure NV and work together on gene therapies for cardiovascular disease.

Bristol-Myers will have exclusive access to the Dutch company's proprietary gene therapy program for congestive heart failure. The two companies will collaborate on 10 targets in total and may work on future projects in other disease areas.

Bristol-Myers will pay about $100 million. This includes an upfront payment of $50 million, a $15 million payment for selecting two collaboration targets, and a $32 investment in UniQure that represents a 4.9% stake in the company. Bristol-Myers will acquire an additional 5% ownership before the end of the year at a 10% premium.

UniQure can receive at least an additional $254 million if certain milestones are reached. It is also eligible for $217 million for other gene therapy products.

Shares of UniQure surged 42% in premarket trading to $32.45. Bristol-Myers shares, up 27% over the past year, slipped 0.4% to $63.

Amsterdam-based UniQure will make supplies using its insect-cell based manufacturing platform. Bristol-Myers will pay for research and development costs as well as lead development and commercialization.

"This collaboration will accelerate the application of gene therapy for large patient populations suffering from heart diseases and will complement the further development of UniQure's internal pipeline," UniQure Chief Executive Joern Aldag said.

New York-based Bristol-Myers is poised for a management shift, with Chief Operating Officer Giovanni Caforio set to become chief executive in May. Dr. Caforio, a trained physician, will succeed CEO Lamberto Andreotti, who will become chairman of the board.

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Bristol-Myers Invests in UniQure in Heart Disease Pact

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