Bicycle rides to 2nd $1.7B Big Pharma deal in 2 months, this time with Bayer

Bayer has taken its radiopharmaceutical pipeline up a gear, paying out $45 million upfront to Bicycle Therapeutics in a collaboration spanning multiple oncology targets.

Bicycle will use its phage platform to discover and develop so-called bicyclic peptides, which consist of 9 to 20 amino acids that can bind to specific targets. This morning’s release offers few clues to the number and exact application of the peptides to be covered by the deal beyond “several undisclosed oncology targets.”

The German Big Pharma will oversee and bankroll all development from preclinical work through potential commercialization. Including the upfront payment, Bayer’s total payout to Bicycle could top out at $1.7 billion once development and commercial milestone fees are taken into account.

Bayer already markets a radiotherapy in the form of prostate cancer treatment Xofigo and picked up radiotherapeutics biotech Noria Therapeutics two years ago along with its subsidiary PSMA Therapeutics.

Bicycle is riding high on a dealmaking journey of its own this year, with the Bayer pact coming less than two months after a remarkably similar partnership with Novartis. The Swiss pharma was also keen to get its hands on the biotech's radio-conjugates, pledging up to $1.7 billion for several undisclosed oncology targets.

Like Bayer, the move made sense for Novartis, which already has two radiotherapeutics on the market, Lutathera and Pluvicto, for certain gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and prostate cancer, respectively. Novartis stepped back into the radiotherapy world last month, paying $40 million upfront for exclusive rights to 3B Pharmaceuticals’ cancer-targeting tech.

Bicycle, meanwhile, also has an ongoing deal with Genentech that involves multiple immuno-oncology targets.