Tiny Bicycle Therapeutics Snags a Drug Discovery Pact Worth $1 Billion With AstraZeneca PLC

Tiny Bicycle Therapeutics Snags a Drug Discovery Pact Worth $1 Billion With AstraZeneca PLC December 1, 2016
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Bicycle Therapeutics, with offices in Cambridge, UK and Cambridge, Mass., inked a deal with London, UK-based AstraZeneca PLC  that could be worth $1 billion.

Bicycle Therapeutics has a technology platform that identifies proprietary bicyclic peptides, or Bicycles. Bicycles, the company says, “exhibit the affinity and exquisite target specificity usually associated with antibodies but in a small molecule format enabling rapid tissue penetration and flexible routes of administration.”

Under the deal, Bicycle will identify the molecules for an undisclosed number of targets that AstraZeneca specifies. Then AstraZeneca will continue to develop and market any products. Although the deal isn’t broken down, Bicycle is eligible for up to $1 billion in payments. The deal includes an unspecified upfront payment, research-and-development funding, and various payments related to regulatory and commercial milestones. The company could also receive royalties.

“We are pleased to be partnering with AstraZeneca to deploy our Bicycle technology to multiple targets across important disease areas, further expanding our therapeutic scope to indications outside of our core focus in oncology,” said Kevin Lee, Bicycle’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “This collaboration is a testament to the broad applicability of Bicycles and the robust platform we have created. We look forward to working with AstraZeneca to create novel inhaled therapeutics and targeting agents in these areas of high unmet medical need.”

In 2014, Bicycle closed on a $32 million Series B financing that included Atlas Venture, Novartis Venture Fund, SR One, SV Life Sciences and Astellas Venture Management.

The agreement will help AstraZeneca expand outside oncology, although most investors are currently focused on its oncology pipeline.

On November 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted a partial clinical hold on AstraZeneca’s clinical trial of durvalumab as monotherapy and in combination with tremelimumab for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The Phase III KESTREL clinical trial hold was initiated on October 27 after early findings showed bleeding events related to both the KESTREL and EAGLE trials.

Of the latest deal, Menelas Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president, Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit and Global Business Development, said in a statement, “The bicycle platform expands our drug discovery capabilities and enables us to broaden the range of targets we can prosecute across a range of disease indications. By combining the expertise and strengths of AstraZeneca and Bicycle Therapeutics, we are confident this collaboration will result in clinically important advances for patients suffering from respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.”

Bicycle’s platform technology is built on work from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, U.K. Its scientific founders are Sir Gregory Winter and Christian Heinis. Prior to Bicycle Therapeutics, Kevin Lee was the chief scientific officer of Orphan and Genetic Diseases for Pfizer. Prior to Pfizer, Lee was vice president and head at Epinova DPU, the epigenetics research DPU at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“This is a broad partnership between two entrepreneurial and innovative companies, as illustrated by the collaborative deal structure we have put in place,” said Kumar Srinivasan, vice president, Scientific Partnering and Alliances, Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit at AstraZeneca, in a statement. “Bicycle’s focus so far has been in oncology and bringing AstraZeneca’s expertise in respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic disease to their platform substantially expands its potential.”

Back to news