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On August 3, 2017, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced that it has agreed to acquire biotech firm, IFM Therapeutics, in a deal worth over $1 billion to develop BMS’ oncology pipeline.
On August 3, 2017, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced a definitive agreement to acquire IFM Therapeutics (IFM), a venture-backed biotech company specializing in cancer, autoimmunity, and inflammatory disease therapies, under which BMS has rights to all outstanding capital stock of IFM. The deal includes rights to IFM’s preclinical STING (stimulator of interferon genes) and NLRP3 agonist programs, which are focused on enhancing the innate immune response for cancer treatment, and strengthens BMS’ focus on its oncology pipeline. IFM’s STING agonist program includes a lead asset and the NLRP3 agonist program includes a potential first-in-class pipeline candidate.
Under the agreement, BMS will pay $300 million to IFM upfront with the potential of over $1 billion upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory and sales milestones for each of the first products from the two programs. IFM also is eligible for additional contingent milestone payments for additional products resulting from these programs. IFM Therapeutics LLC, a newly formed entity by IFM shareholders, will retain the company’s personnel, facilities and remaining research programs including an NLRP3 antagonist program focused on cutting immune responses that lead to inflammatory diseases and fibrosis. BMS will be granted at closing certain rights against the newly formed entity’s NLRP3 antagonist program, including a right of first refusal.
“Targeting innate immunity pathways represents a potentially differentiated approach in immuno-oncology designed to initiate and augment immune responses that may help the body’s natural defenses better recognize and attack tumors,” said Thomas Lynch, MD, executive vice president, chief scientific officer at BMS, in a company press release. “The addition of STING and NLRP3 agonist programs broadens our ability to investigate additional pathways across the immune system and complements our immuno-oncology portfolio. We look forward to advancing the development of these important programs initiated by Gary Glick, his leadership team and leading academic and industry experts across immunology and oncology.”
The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and by the stockholders of IFM.