Bankrupt biotech Bind eyes $20M sale to Pfizer

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The Robert Langer-backed nanoparticle cancer biotech Bind ($BIND), after a decade in the business, looks to be at the end of the road after the company said it was seeking an approval for a “stalking horse” bid today from Pfizer ($PFE).

The company, which in April axed nearly 40% of its staff and filed for bankruptcy just a week later, is set to sell nearly all of its assets in a court-supervised deal to the New York Big Pharma for just under $20 million in cash--with Pfizer also agreeing to take on some of the “contractual liabilities” of the Boston biotech. Bind had raised nearly $100 million during its short life. 

According to its SEC filing, there will be an auction process on 25 July for the assets where others can bid a higher amount for the deal, but it looks likely that Pfizer will walk away with the goods at its current price. If, however, anyone wanted to take hold of the biotechs assets, they have until 22 July to up Pfizer’s initial offer.

Bind said that it “intends to select the highest and best offer at the conclusion of the auction.” The penny-stock company saw an uptick this week on the news, although its shares took a hit yesterday, dropping by more than 11% to close at 64 cents.

The writing has been on the wall for Bind since the start of April when the Cambridge, MA-based biotech released a mixed bag of results for its Phase II program for the nanoparticle cancer drug BIND-014.

The so-so data saw it halt one trial and stop another as it couldn’t afford to run the second trial, which did have positive results, any further. This has put its entire Accurins drug platform, and more broadly the nanoparticle oncology program, under scrutiny.

The company’s CEO, Andrew Hirsch, told FierceBiotech back in April that it was ideally seeking an I/O partner to help it out with its lung cancer trial for BIND-014. Failing that, he said that he was considering selling the company and its assets, which is the route he is now clearly taking. He said he still thought that his biotech's tech and BIND-014 were worthy of study. 

Pfizer could be a good choice in that respect given that it is running its own PD-L1 immuno-oncology program with Merck KGaA, and has already undertaken a number of combo trials--meaning there could be an opportunity for it to test BIND-014 in new ways that the biotech simply couldn’t afford. Either way, $20 million will not keep Pfizer’s Ian Read up at night if it doesn’t work out.

Bind has not, however, been short of those interested in its research platform over the years, and it currently has a number of ongoing collaborations with Big Pharma, including Pfizer, as well as AstraZeneca ($AZN), Roche ($RHHBY) and Merck ($MRK), which are all predominately using the biotech’s Accurins platform for early-stage oncology targets. The future of these deals remains uncertain.

The biotech is one of a handful originally developed under Robert Langer, the famed MIT scientist.

- check out the SEC filing

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