Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Cormorant Pharmaceuticals announced that Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of Cormorant, a private, Stockholm, Sweden-based pharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapies for cancer and rare diseases.
The acquisition gives Bristol-Myers Squibb full rights to Cormorant’s HuMax-IL8 antibody program and the lead candidate HuMax-IL8, a Phase 1/2 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.
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.
“We believe combination therapy will be foundational to delivering the potential for long-term survival for patients, and the opportunity to develop the HuMax-IL8 antibody program together with our broad Immuno-Oncology pipeline enables us to accelerate the next wave of potentially transformational immunotherapies,” said Francis Cuss, MB BChir, FRCP, executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb is the ideal company to maximize the potential of both Cormorant and the HuMax-IL8 program, and bring hope to more patients,” said Maarten de Château, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer, Cormorant Pharmaceuticals. “Bristol-Myers Squibb is the leader in the Immuno-Oncology field, with deep clinical development and regulatory expertise, and an established commercial infrastructure to deliver important new therapies to patients quickly. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s rich pipeline of clinical candidates and approved products provides even more opportunity for potential therapeutic synergy when coupled with HuMax-IL8.”
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.
The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and by the stockholders of Cormorant.
Cormorant Pharmaceuticals is a privately held, biopharmaceutical company founded by Maarten de Château and Urban Paulsson. The company is based at the Karolinska Institute Science Park in Stockholm, Sweden. Based on mounting research pointing to IL-8 being an important driver of malignant tumors, HuMax-IL8 was acquired from Genmab A/S and taken into development by Cormorant. HuMax-IL8, is a fully human monoclonal antibody.
Cormorant engaged Colpman Consulting Ltd as lead business advisor in the sale process. Wiggin and Dana LLP acted as legal advisors to the transaction.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at www.BMS.com .
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Maarten de Château, M.D.Ph.D.