BMS, Repertoire Ink Potential $1.8B Deal to Find Vaccines for Autoimmune Diseases

Bristol Myers Squibb/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pictured: BMS sign on a building in San Diego, California/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Bristol Myers Squibb announced Monday that it has entered a potential $1.8 billion, multi-year collaboration with Repertoire Immune Medicines to create tolerizing vaccines for up to three autoimmune diseases. 

Under the agreement, BMS will pay $65 million upfront to Repertoire while the biotech is eligible to receive additional milestone payments and potential tiered royalties. Repertoire will be responsible for leading all activities on the vaccines through to the development nomination stage. BMS will then take over responsibility for the clinical development, regulatory affairs and commercialization efforts under a worldwide license.

According to Repertoire, the deal will use its Decode discovery platform to find the vaccine candidates. Decode is a T cell receptor-epitope platform using proprietary lipid nanoparticle delivery technology. The biotech said that the vaccines will aim to treat the underlying causes by “resetting” the immune system. However, no details were provided as to what specific diseases are being targeted. 

“Our collaboration with Repertoire aims to selectively reset the immune system selectively, reflecting a key component of our immunology research strategy, which we believe may offer long term benefit while mitigating unintended consequences associated with broad immune suppression,” Francisco Ramírez-Valle, head of the Immunology & Cardiovascular Thematic Research Center at BMS, said in a statement. 

Repertoire was founded in 2019 by Flagship Pioneering and launched in 2020, but it faced rough waters in 2022. The company scrapped two Phase I trials for its T-cell therapeutic candidates, RPTR-147 and RPTR-16, in human papillomavirus (HPV) positive tumors after data showed it only had a limited effect. Repertoire focused on using the Decode platform to find targets for cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. 

“This agreement is a recognition of the transformative power of Repertoire’s Decode platform to discover and develop programmable T cell targeted immune medicines,” Repertoire CEO Torben Straight Nissen said in a statement. “We are excited to collaborate with Bristol Myers Squibb to combine their leadership in immunology with our unique ability to discover key disease-associated epitopes in patients with autoimmune diseases.”

BMS has been active in the deal space of late. Last week,  the company signed a $380 million reservation and supply deal with manufacturer Cellares to strengthen the production of CAR-T cell therapies. 

The pharma also announced in its first-quarter 2024 earnings that it plans to generate $1.5 billion in cost savings through 2025, including eliminating 2,200 jobs by the end of the 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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