BMS trims anti-TIGIT pipeline and a handful of other early- to midstage meds

As the TIGIT class gets closer to finally seeing clinical success, Bristol Myers Squibb is trimming one of its candidates.

The company disclosed development of a phase 2 anti-TIGIT is ending as part of its annual R&D day on Thursday. BMS is also halting work on a phase 2 nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) candidate licensed in 2016 from Nitto Denko Corporation and a handful of other phase 1 assets. 

"We regularly evaluate our pipeline to best prioritize resources where we see the potential for transformational effects on patients’ lives," a spokesperson said in a statement. 

BMS terminated a phase 2 study of the anti-TIGIT in solid tumors in late January due to “safety reasons, adverse change in the risk/benefit,” according to the clinical trial record. The record for a phase 1/2 multiple myeloma trial, sponsored by the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, was last updated in July to indicate it was active and recruitment had been completed.

The decision comes as the class is potentially on the precipice of a bit of momentum, led by Roche's tiragolumab. Data released last year found that the asset in combination with Tecentriq did not improve progression-free survival in first-line non-small cell lung cancer patients, throwing into question the potential of the class that had garnered investments from numerous Big Pharmas. But an inadvertent data drop last month showed that treated patients did live longer compared to patients on just Tecentriq, though not by a statistically significant amount. Nonetheless, Roche's shared jump on the news. 

BMS is evidently pushing all of its TIGIT chips toward a bispecific candidate licensed from Agenus in May 2021 for $200 million upfront. Agenus also stands to earn $1.36 billion in milestone payments. The bispecific is in a phase 1 trial in patients with solid tumors as both a monotherapy and in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor. 

The NASH med was a siRNA asset targeting heat shock protein 47 that cost BMS $100 million to license in 2016. A phase 2 trial testing BMS-986263 in patients with advanced hepatic fibrosis that had been cured of hepatitis C wrapped up in February 2022. Data published in April last year showed that the most significant improvement in fibrosis was in patients at the 90-mg dose level, the highest in the trial, and that all adverse events were mild to moderate. 

The early-stage cuts include a cancer molecule aimed at an undisclosed target, a CD47 and CD20-targeting lymphoma med, a leukemia treatment and a RIPK1 inhibitor.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include a statement from a BMS spokesperson.