BMS Inks Potential $8.4B Deal for SystImmune’s ADC for Lung, Breast Cancer

Bristol Myers Squibb Building

Pictured: BMS signage outside its office in New Jersey/iStock, arlutz73

Bristol Myers Squibb on Monday announced that it signed an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with SystImmune to develop the biotech’s investigational bi-specific antibody-drug conjugate BL-B01D1 as a treatment for solid tumors.

Under the agreement, BMS will make an upfront payment of $800 million and pledge up to $500 million in contingent near-term payments. SystImmune will also be eligible to receive up to $7.1 billion in development, regulatory and sales performance milestones, on top of tiered royalties on net sales outside the U.S. and Mainland China. The deal has a total potential value of $8.4 billion.

At the center of the deal is BL-B01D1, an investigational and potentially first-in-class bi-specific antibody-drug conjugate that targets both the EGFR and HER3 proteins, both of which are highly expressed in a variety of solid tumors.

This dual-binding action allows BL-B01D1 to block the signaling cascade triggered by both receptors, in turn interfering with the cancer cells’ hyperactive proliferation and persistent survival mechanisms, according to SystImmune’s website. BL-B01D1 also carries a genotoxic payload that it releases inside the cancer cells once internalized, triggering their cell death responses.

BMS is gaining the rights to co-develop and co-commercialize BL-B01D1 in the U.S., as well as the exclusive license to the candidate in the international market. SystImmune will retain exclusive rights to BL-B01D1 in Mainland China, where BMS will instead be eligible for royalties on net sales.

Monday’s deal with SystImmune will add “yet another ADC to our diverse pipeline and helps strengthen our approach of matching the most appropriate therapeutic modality to areas of unmet medical need across solid tumor oncology,” BMS Chief Medical Officer Samit Hirawat said in a statement.

BL-B01D1 is currently being assessed in a global Phase I study dubbed BL-B01D1-LUNG101, which is looking at the candidate’s safety and efficacy in metastatic or unresectable non-small cell lung cancer. In earlier clinical studies, BL-B01D1 demonstrated potent antitumor activity in various solid tumors, including breast cancer, that had progressed after standard of care, according to BMS.

Monday’s licensing agreement with SystImmune is the latest development in BMS’ recent deal-making spree. Last month, the pharma expanded its existing contract with Avidity Biosciences for $100 million upfront and with potential cumulative payments reaching up to $2.3 billion. In October 2023, BMS dropped $4.8 billion to buy Mirati Therapeutics to boost its oncology business.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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