Biogen has announced an agreement to exclusively license an experimental medicine with potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The drug, known as BMS-986168, is an antibody targeting extracellular tau, the protein that forms the deposits, or tangles, in the brain associated with AD and other neurodegenerative tauopathies such as PSP, a rare and devastating condition that affects movement, speech, vision, and cognitive function. Biogen plans to rapidly initiate Phase 2 studies for BMS-986168 in both AD and PSP.
“Biogen aims to be a leader in Alzheimer’s disease and we are building a pipeline with multiple approaches to address the complex, devastating process of neurodegeneration,” said Michael Ehlers, executive vice president, research & development. “Based on encouraging safety and efficacy data, we believe BMS-986168 is a promising anti-tau candidate that may represent the next wave of medicines for Alzheimer’s disease as well as the first real answer for progressive supranuclear palsy.”
The addition of BMS-986168 to Biogen’s pipeline signifies both a broader commitment to rare neurodegenerative diseases as well as a strengthened focus on AD, a condition that affects millions of patients and families. With an expanded AD pipeline that includes a range of anti-tau and anti-amyloid candidates as well as a BACE inhibitor program, Biogen is targeting multiple mechanisms implicated in the disease.
Under the agreement, Biogen will receive worldwide rights to BMS-986168. Biogen will be responsible for the full development and global commercialization of BMS-986168 in AD and PSP. Bristol-Myers Squibb will receive an upfront payment of $300 million from Biogen and may receive up to $410 million for additional milestone payments and potential royalties.
Biogen will also assume all remaining obligations to the former stockholders of iPierian, Inc. related to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acquisition of the company in 2014. Biogen may pay up to $550 million in remaining milestones plus royalties including a near term $60 million milestone.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the United States, and is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2017. (Source: Biogen Website, 13 April, 2017)