Bristol Myers Squibb has expanded into the neuroscience sector with its updated deals with Prothena and Evotec, totaling up to $95 million.
After initially entering into a $100 million agreement with Prothena for its antibodies against targets including tau and paying $80 million in 2021 for exclusive rights to the drug in the U.S., the company has decided to pay an additional $55 million to license its PRX005 drug candidate worldwide.
BMS has secured exclusive global commercial rights to Prothena’s anti-tau antibody for its PRX005 drug candidate through the revised agreement. This antibody is designed to address a specific region within the microtubule binding region (MTBR) and holds potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the press release issued by Prothena at the beginning of this week, PRX005 is a tri-epitopic antibody that can not only bind to R1, R2, and R3 repeats within the MTBR of tau but is also able to target 3R and 4R tau isoforms.
In January, the company released topline results from the Phase 1 trial of the drug, which revealed that the drug was safe and well-tolerated by patients. Topline results from the multiple ascending dose portion of the trial have not yet been released; however, they are expected to come out towards the end of this year and will focus on both healthy volunteers and Alzheimer’s patients.
It has been predicted that once all regulatory and commercial milestones are reached, the deal may be able to generate as much as $2.2 billion for Prothena.
According to Richard Hargreaves, head of BMS’ Neuroscience Thematic Research Center, “PRX005… has the potential to provide a meaningful disease-modifying treatment option. PRX005 becomes a key component of our commitment to the Alzheimer’s disease community and our neuroscience portfolio, and we look forward to continuing its development.”
A day after announcing its collaboration with Prothena, BMS announced that it has paid Evotec $40 million to obtain a license that covers an undisclosed number of programs to be developed using the company’s precision medicine platforms.
Although BMS and Evotec have both been generally tight-lipped about the updated agreement, they have dubbed it an extension of their prior collaboration under which BMS will exercise its option for exclusive global rights to selected late-stage discovery programs co-developed with Evotec.
It was Celgene who initially collaborated with Evotec to develop neurodegeneration treatments back in 2016, but since being acquired by BMS in 2019, the collaboration has been extended for 8 years.
The initial deal focused on four broad areas, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. The deal aims to enable the systematic drug screening of patients in patient-derived disease models using Evotec’s proprietary pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform.
Apart from the $40 million paid to Evotec, the company is still eligible for performance milestone payments and tiered royalties as they rise. Royalties raised by the sales of potential products are estimated to be in low double-digit percentages.