Bristol-Myers Signs An Exclusive Pact In Gene Therapy For Treating Cardiovascular Disorders

Posted: April 9, 2015 at 3:43 am

Perpetuating the surge of interest in gene therapy technology from major pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Novartis Inc. (NVS), biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) announced a partnership agreement with gene therapy research and development company uniQure NV (QURE) which gives them exclusive rights over uniQures gene therapy technology development for up to 10 genetic targets, for treating cardiovascular diseases, among others. Marking the first foray of Bristol-Myers into gene therapy, the deal gives the company the sole right to develop uniQures gene therapy drugs to treat diseases such as heart failure, which is one of the most common health problems in the world today. Cardiovascular disease is expected to affect about 40 million people around the world by 2030.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has an excellent and long-standing track record of success in discovering and developing treatments for cardiovascular diseases and in embracing advancing technologies for the treatment of human diseases, Carl Decicco, Ph.D., head of Discovery, R&D, Bristol-Myers Squibb said in a statement issued by the company. Collaborating with uniQure, a clear leader in the field with an innovative and validated gene therapy platform, further strengthens our capability to bring forward transformational new therapeutics for difficult-to-treat diseases.

Joern Aldag, Chief Executive Officer of uniQure had this to say: Bristol-Myers Squibbs strength in the cardiovascular area and its commitment to gene therapy will allow them to leverage the full breadth and capacity of our platform for cardiovascular diseases. This collaboration will accelerate the application of gene therapy for large patient populations suffering from heart diseases and will complement the further development of uniQures internal pipeline in two focus areas: liver diseases, including hemophilia, and CNS, including lysosomal storage diseases.

Lets find out what terms have been decided upon with respect to the deal, and well as what impact such an announcement had on the stock movement of both the partnering companies.

Terms of the deal

Bristol-Myers Squibb will make an upfront payment of $50 million to close the deal around the end of the second quarter of 2015. This will set in motion near-term payments totaling nearly $100 million, including $15 million on finalizing three collaboration targets, apart from synthesizing S100A1, a calcium-binding protein described as master regulator of heart function by the pharma major. These targets must be closed within three months from closing the deal. Bristol-Myers will acquire an initial 49% stake in uniQure at $33.84 per share or a minimum $32 million in total. Before the year end, Bristol-Myers will acquire an additional 5% stake at a 10% premium, plus two warrants to add up to 10% equity interest at a premium. This will be based on the targets added to the partnership.

UniQure will be tasked with manufacturing the gene therapy drugs under the supply contract portion of the agreement. In turn, it will be paid $254 million for the synthesis of S100A1 and $217 million for each additional gene therapy product developed under the agreement. UniQure is also set to receive royalty based single to double-digit payouts on sales and net sales-based milestone payments.

Shares on upswing

During premarket trading on this Monday, both UniQure and Bristol-Myers shares climbed and showed positive activity. Shares of UniQure performed the best by surging a whopping 47% to close at $33.61. Its stock climbed steadily, peaking at 54%, over the year through Thursday. Bristol-Myers saw a comparatively smaller rise in premarket trade of 0.25%, but closed at a drop of 0.36% at $63. After hours trading on Monday saw a further dip of 0.17 to $62.89.

Future development

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Bristol-Myers Signs An Exclusive Pact In Gene Therapy For Treating Cardiovascular Disorders

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