Bristol-Myers Squibb Strikes Deal Worth $444 Million With Galecto Biotech

Published: Nov 04, 2014

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Strikes Deal Worth $444 Million With Galecto Biotech

November 3, 2014

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Staff

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company will acquire Danish firm Galecto Biotech for $444 million in a bid to gain worldwide rights to its lead asset, pulmonary fibrosis drug TD139, the two companies said in a statement Monday.

The new deal will consist of total aggregate payments which have the potential to reach $444 million, including an option fee, an option exercise fee and built-in clinical and regulatory milestone payments. Galecto execs seemed delighted at the prospect of exiting so early to such a large company.

“Partnering with Bristol-Myers Squibb validates what we have created in Galecto, and will allow us to advance TD139 and our portfolio of other galectin modulators for several important human conditions,” said Magnus Persson, chairman of Galecto, in a statement.

Although only in Phase I development, TD139, has shown promising results as a novel inhaled inhibitor of galectin-3, a protein which plays a central role in various types of fibrosis. Galectin-3 inhibitors stop the protein from binding, which is a key milestone in fighting diseases that exhibit galectin-3 expression such as IPF, a chronic, progressive form of lung disease characterized by the scarring of lung tissue.

“Delivering innovative medicines that halt or slow the progression of fibrotic diseases is a key part of our R&D strategy to build a sustainable pipeline,” said Francis Cuss, executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, in a statement. “TD139 provides Bristol-Myers Squibb an opportunity to advance the company’s fibrosis development program with the addition of a promising compound that has the potential to modulate multiple disease pathways.”

Galecto Biotech has seen a range of venture capital partners, including Novo Seeds, MS Ventures, Sunstone Capital and SEED Capital. Based in Copenhagen, it said its acquisition today was further proof that the therapies it has been developing are viable.

Galecto has, in close collaboration with our founders, managed to demonstrate the importance of galectin-3 as an anti-fibrosis target,” said Hans Schambye, chief executive officer of Galecto, in a statement. “We have confirmed the anti-fibrotic activity of our lead compound, TD139, in several preclinical models and now have taken the compound into clinical testing in healthy volunteers followed by patient studies in early 2015.”

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