Boston Pharmaceuticals bags 8 assets in back-to-back deals with GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis

Handshake business deal executives
The most advanced of the licensed assets is BOS-228, an ex-Novartis monobactam that is in phase 2. (Pixabay)

Boston Pharmaceuticals has bolstered its pipeline through back-to-back deals with GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. The agreements double the size of the clinical pipeline at the deep-pocketed, Gurnet Point-backed biotech, moving it closer to its goal of having a 20-asset portfolio of R&D prospects. 

Chris Viehbacher’s Gurnet Point launched Boston in 2015 with a $600 million financial commitment. Since then, Boston, under the leadership of ex-Eli Lilly executive Robert Armstrong, has scoured the world for the best available assets in any therapeutic area that have advanced as far as IND-enabling studies but no further than phase 2, resulting in deals with Daiichi Sankyo and Pierre Fabre.

The hunt for assets led Boston to sit down with GSK and Novartis and strike two of its biggest deals yet. Boston is picking up three anti-infectives jettisoned by Novartis in its retreat from the field and five programs put on the back burner at GSK following the appointment of Emma Walmsley as CEO. Half of the programs are in clinical development or on the cusp of phase 1.


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Novartis has taken a stake in two companies it formed with Boston in part exchange for its three anti-infectives. Boston is also paying an upfront fee and committing to milestones and royalties. Further financial details of the Novartis deal—and all details of the GSK pact—remain confidential.

The most advanced of the licensed assets is BOS-228, an ex-Novartis monobactam that is in phase 2 in patients with gram-negative bacterial infections. Boston also picked up two phase 2-ready drugs from GSK. One of the ex-GSK drugs is a RET tyrosine kinase inhibitor in development in irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. The other is an acne drug that inhibits DGAT1.

Once Boston moves another ex-GSK drug, vitiligo and psoriasis prospect BOS-475, into phase 1 it will have eight clinical-phase assets, up from four prior to the deals with the Big Pharma companies. With a slate of other assets deep in preclinical, Boston is set to further expand its roster of clinical trials over the coming year. 

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