Bioverativ, Bicycle in tandem for $424M-plus blood disease R&D pact

The companies have had a busy year with deals and R&D pacts galore.

Biogen’s newly spun off hemophilia biotech Bioverativ has signed a new pact with U.K. biotech Bicycle Therapeutics.

The pair will ride tandem on new research work for hemophilia and sickle cell disease with the help of the biotech’s bicyclic peptide platform (the eponymous Bicycle).

Bicycles combine attributes of antibodies, small molecules and peptides within one molecule, which the company says should allow “high selectivity and affinity” while at the same time being able to penetrate and bind to the targets of interest within the body.

Under the deal (PDF), Cambridge, U.K.-based Bicycle Therapeutics will take the lead on the first discovery activities through lead optimization to candidate selection for two programs.

Bioverativ, meanwhile, will lead preclinical and clinical development, as well as future marketing and sales work, should candidates get that far. Bioverativ says it will “reimburse Bicycle for internal and external program-related costs.”

Under the deal, Bicycle gets $10 million upfront and $4.2 million for its early trial work on the program. It can look forward to $410 million in milestone biobucks for the planned two programs, as well as tiered single to low double-digit royalties related to product sales. Further financial details were not released.

“We believe our Bicycle platform has extremely broad therapeutic potential and we are excited to work with Bioverativ, a standout leader in the haematology field, to explore Bicycles in this important area of clinical need,” said Kevin Lee, CEO of Bicycle.

“Combining Bioverativ’s deep expertise in haematology with our powerful platform offers great promise for the development of novel, targeted therapies for patients. This alliance provides the latest validation of our Bicycle platform and furthers our strategy to evaluate its potential in a wide range of new disease areas.”

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Bioverativ officially spun out of Biogen in February with two commercial products, a substantial preclinical program and plans to use its $325 million cash pile to fill in the gap between these extremes.

It started public trading at the start of the year, but Bioverativ has already been busy on the deal front, penning a potential $825 million deal to buy out rare disease biotech True North Therapeutics and its clinical-phase treatment for cold agglutinin disease, TNT009.

Bicycle too has enjoyed a strong ride in the past year, raising £40 million ($51 million) in June, with much of the haul going toward work for its lead cancer candidate BT1718, which should enter the clinic this year.

Late last year it also penned a major, back-loaded deal potentially worth up to $1 billion with AstraZeneca, for work on using Bicycles for respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. A few weeks after the AZ pact, it also signed a deal with U.K. cancer charity Cancer Research UK that see its sponsor and fund early tests for BT1718.