Boston Pharma Doubles Pipeline with 2 Deals with Novartis and GSK

Licensing deal contract

Boston Pharma went on a buying binge, licensing a slew of compounds from GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis in two separate deals.

From GlaxoSmithKline, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company in-licensed five early development programs. The portfolio includes two compounds ready for Phase II, one ready for Phase I, and two unidentified preclinical programs. No financial details were disclosed.

The compounds include GSK3352589, a novel small molecule inhibitor of REarranged during Transfection (RET) tyrosine kinase. This drug recently wrapped Phase I trials. Boston Pharma plans to develop the drug for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D). The second Phase II-ready compound is GSK3008356, a small molecule inhibitor of Diglyceride Acyltransferase (DGAT) 1 for acne.

The Phase I-ready compound is GSK3183475, a small molecule inhibitor of Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal, Second Bromodomain (BET BD2). It is a topical compound to treat vitiligo and/or psoriasis.

“The licensing of these development assets is an important validation of our development team and capabilities and an affirmation of our strategy to assemble a diverse pipeline of clinical candidates across a broad range of indications,” stated Robert Armstrong, Boston Pharma’s chief executive officer. “We are making substantial progress in executing on our business model and are excited to advance these molecules into and through the clinic to evaluate their potential to improve patient lives.”

These are just a few of the 30 compounds that GSK put up for auction when new chief executive officer Emma Walmsley restructured the company’s research-and-development activities.

From Novartis, Boston Pharma picked up three novel anti-infective drug candidates. Previously part of the Novartis Infectious Diseases portfolio, the drugs are for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative infections.

In addition to the compounds, Novartis and Boston Pharma are developing two new companies to continue developing and commercializing these programs. Novartis will have an equity stake in the new companies. Again, financial details were not disclosed, although there was an upfront payment, potential milestone payments, and royalties on any commercial products.

The compounds include LYS228, a potential best-in-class monobactam which has already started in Phase II trials. It has activity against CRE with resistance caused by serine beta-lactamases (SBLs) and/or metallo beta-lactamases (MBLs). A second compound is IID572, a novel beta-lactamase inhibitor that might be used in combination with LYS228 or other beta-lactam antibiotics.

The third compound is MAK181, an oral, first-in-class LpxC inhibitor for Pseudomonas infections.

“The need for new antibiotics that address drug-resistant bacteria is clear and we are pleased to find a partner in Boston Pharmaceuticals who will dedicate the appropriate expertise and resources for the further development and commercialization of these programs,” stated Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “Drug discovery and development is a team sport and this agreement is part of our strategy to partner with like-minded innovators outside of our walls to further develop new innovative medicines focused on addressing global health challenges.”

These deals, which total eight compounds, double the size of Boston Pharma’s pipeline. Currently, the company has just under 30 people on staff.

In January of this year, Boston Pharma licensed a compound, F17727 from France’s Pierre Fabre. F17727 is a small molecule in late preclinical development for atrial fibrillation (AF).

At the time, Armstrong stated, “This agreement, with such a patient-driven and innovative partner as Pierre Fabre, marks a further significant step in our plan to assemble a diverse portfolio of clinical candidates across a broad range of mechanisms and therapeutic targets. F17727 represents the seventh addition to our rapidly advancing pipeline and our first candidate that addresses cardiovascular disease.”

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