By acquiring Cormorant, BMS will obtain full rights to its ongoing program focused on HuMax-IL8, a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting the protein interleukin-8 (IL-8), which is expressed within the tumor microenvironment in many solid tumors and is thought to suppress immune responses.
By attacking IL-8, HuMax-IL8 could potentially help revert this situation and increase the efficacy of existing cancer medicines through combination therapy. The program could potentially represent an additional immuno-oncology mechanism of action benefiting T-cell-directed antibodies and co-stimulatory molecules.
“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,” Francis Cuss, BMS executive vice president and chief scientific officer, said in a press release.
The transaction will be made with initial upfront contingent milestone payments of up to $95 million and additional potential contingent payments of up to $425 million upon the achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones, which BMS must lead.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global pharmaceutical focused on discovering, developing, and delivering novel medicines that help patients outlive serious illnesses, said the acquisition has been approved by both companies’ board of directors and by Cormorant’s stockholders.
“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 Cormorant CEO Maarten de Château, M.D., Ph.D. “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.”
He said BMS’ “rich pipeline of clinical candidates and approved products provides even more opportunity for potential therapeutic synergy when coupled with HuMax-IL8.”