Invest with an Option to Buy: Bristol-Myers Squibb Partners with Accelerator BioMotiv


Bristol-Myers Squibb has partnered with biotech accelerator BioMotiv. Bristol-Myers will become a limited partner, investing in projects of mutual interest, with an option to buy the companies once there is a preclinical candidate.

“This new partnership will allow us to leverage the extensive expertise of Bristol-Myers Squibb across multiple disease areas,” stated Ted Torphy, BioMotiv’s chief executive officer and chief scientific officer. “Combined with BioMotiv’s unique model and focus on accelerating breakthrough discoveries from leading academic institutions, we have the opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of patients.”

BioMotiv is associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. This $380 million project has a goal of advancing medicine. The Harrington Discovery Institute is affiliated with University Hospitals in Cleveland. It is a U.S. and UK initiative. The idea is to advance breakthrough discoveries from research institutions into medicines for patients using a model that aligns capital and collaborations. BioMotiv was launched in 2012.

In 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb partnered with Dual Therapeutics, a BioMotiv portfolio company. Bristol-Myers picked up exclusive, worldwide rights to develop the company’s small-molecule drugs. Dual received an undisclosed upfront payment and development costs, as well as milestone payments that pegged at more than $255 million, as well as royalties on any commercial products.

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Dual Therapeutics focuses on small-molecule modulators that simultaneously block several cancer-related pathways. Dual was founded in 2013, with a focus on prostate cancer, lung cancer, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The company has dropped out of sight. Although still listed on the BioMotiv website, it doesn’t appear to have its own website and company information is sparse.

Other BioMotiv portfolio companies include Allinaire Therapeutics, Aro Biotherapeutics, Gladstone Institutes, Inclera Therapeutics, Orca Pharmaceuticals and others.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb’s distinctive BioPharma strategy leverages the reach and resources of a major pharma company paired with the entrepreneurial spirit and agility of a biotech firm,” said Bruce Car, interim head, Discovery Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Partnering with an innovative accelerator like BioMotiv strengthens our ability to translate cutting edge, early-stage academic discoveries into new therapies for patients with serious diseases.”

On August 26, as part of its acquisition of Celgene, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced it had entered a deal with Amgen to sell global rights to Otezla (apremilast) for $13.4 billion in cash. This sale was part of the regulatory approval process. The overall merger is expected to close by the end of the year.

The company also indicated it is increasing its previously planned $5 billion accelerated share repurchase to $7 billion, which will take place after the close of the Celgene deal.

“This agreement represents an important step toward completing our pending merger with Celgene,” stated Giovanni Caforio, chairman and chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb. “It also demonstrates the tremendous achievement of the Celgene team in establishing Otezla as an important medicine for patients with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and Behcet’s Disease. Together with the Otezla team, Amgen has the capabilities and infrastructure to continue to support this important medicine and ensure a seamless transition for patients and healthcare providers.”

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in March requested more material in its review of Otezla. Bristol-Myers Squibb has a rival TYK2 psoriasis drug in Phase III trials, BMS-986165. In 2018, Otezla brought in $1.6 billion for Celgene.

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