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Bristol Myers Squibb and Tubulis partner in deal worth over $1bn

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and Tubulis have announced an agreement aimed at developing differentiated antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for solid tumours.

ADCs are a class of potent cancer therapies combining the selectivity of antibodies with the potent cell-killing properties of chemotherapy or other anti-cancer agents.

Unlike chemotherapy, which works by attacking lots of different cells as well as the cancer, ADCs are designed to target and kill tumour cells while sparing healthy ones.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, the German biotech will receive an upfront payment of $22.75m from BMS and will be eligible for future payments of over $1bn plus royalties.

In exchange, BMS will gain exclusive rights to Tubulis’ Tubutecan payloads and P5 conjugation platform for the development of a selected number of highly differentiated ADCs to treat solid tumours.

Tubulis reports that the technology can facilitate the generation of ‘ultra-stable’ ADCs, as well as actively minimise undesirable target-independent toxicities – two key limitations in the development of ADCs.

Following antibody target selection by BMS, Tubulis will provide the company with its linker-payload to generate a uniquely matched ADC for each antibody.

BMS will then assume sole responsibility for development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the resulting ADC candidates.

Emma Lees, senior vice president, research and early development and head, Mechanisms of Cancer Resistance Thematic Research Center at BMS, said: “ADCs play a promising role in cancer therapy, and Tubulis’ differentiated technologies offer opportunities to overcome current challenges in the development of safe and effective ADC therapeutics.

“With the P5 platform, we will be able to pair the right antibody with the right payload and thus provide potential for meaningful therapeutic benefits for patients with solid tumours.”

Dominik Schumacher, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tubulis, said the agreement was “an important validation” of the potential of the company’s approach.

Earlier this month, BioNTech paid Duality Biologics $170m upfront for the rights to two ADC candidates. DB-1303 has already received Fast Track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration and is currently in a phase 2 clinical trial, while DB-1311 is yet to enter human studies.

Under the terms of the agreement, DualityBio is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of potentially more than $1.5bn.



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