BMS Pays $100M Upfront for ADC from Korean Biotech Orum Therapeutics

Pictured: BMS office in California/iStock, hapabapa

Pictured: BMS office in California/iStock, hapabapa

Bristol Myers Squibb continues to make deals in the hot antibody-drug conjugate space as it secures an asset from the South Korean-based biotech Orum Therapeutics. The deal, announced on Monday, will see BMS pay $100 million upfront to snag Orum’s candidate ORM-6151.

The drug is an anti-CD33 antibody-enabled GSPT1 degrader that aims to treat patients with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer in the blood and bone marrow. According to Orum, ORM-6151 has already been given the okay from the FDA to conduct Phase I trials in acute myeloid leukemia patients and those with high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes.

Orum can also receive milestone payments from BMS, bringing the total value of the deal to around $180 million. No other financial details were disclosed.  

“We believe this agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb, a global leader in cancer with a strong legacy in protein degradation, validates Orum’s unique Dual-Precision Targeted Protein Degradation approach, which we pioneered to improve the therapeutic window and realize the full potential of targeted protein degraders through precision delivery to cancer cells via antibody drug conjugates,” Orum CEO Sung Joo Lee said in a statement.

BMS’s acquisition of ORM-6151 comes as the New York-based pharma has been setting its sights on making moves in the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) market. In April 2023, BMS entered into a strategic license agreement with German biotech Tubulis to develop ADCs for solid tumors and obtain access to Tubulis’s Tubutecan payloads and its P5 conjugation platform, which is designed to produce more stable and safer ADCs. BMS paid $22.75 million upfront, with Tubulis potentially able to garner over $1 billion in payments.

However, BMS is not the only major biopharma player augmenting its ADC portfolio this year. Pfizer is moving ahead with its $43 billion deal to acquire Seagen, nabbing antitrust clearance from regulators at the European Commission last month.

BioNTech in April 2023 made a deal with Duality Biologics, paying $170 million upfront to obtain the rights to two topoisomerase-1 inhibitor-based ADCs. AstraZeneca also paid $63 million upfront in February 2023 to get the right to an ADC from a joint venture between Keymed Biosciences and Lepu Biopharma, known as KYM Biosciences.

Last month, GSK and Chinese biopharma Hansoh Pharma entered into an exclusive license agreement for a B7-H4 targeted ADC currently in Phase I clinical trials in China. But the biggest recent deal involved Merck and Daiichi Sankyo who will jointly develop and commercialize the Japanese company’s three DXd-based ADC candidates for a potential consideration of up to $22 billion.

BMS has also been active in the deal space as of late. In October 2023, the company entered into a merger agreement with Mirati Therapeutics, paying $58 per share in a $4.8 billion deal and growing its presence in the oncology sector. The BMS-Mirati deal is expected to close sometime in the first half of next year.

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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