Bristol-Myers Squibb has allied with biotech accelerator BioMotiv. The deal sets Bristol-Myers up to found and fund biotechs with BioMotiv before going on to acquire them outright once a preclinical candidate is identified.
BioMotiv, a biotech accelerator associated with the $380 million Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, builds companies around academic science and helps these startups get into human testing and on to deals with larger partners. In the future, Bristol-Myers may step in partway through that process and buy the biotechs.
The agreement makes Bristol-Myers a limited partner in BioMotiv. In that capacity, Bristol-Myers will work with BioMotiv to spawn new biotechs, providing additional funding to choice projects along the way. In some cases, Bristol-Myers will acquire a startup at pre-agreed terms during preclinical.
BioMotiv CEO Ted Torphy sees Bristol-Myers bringing more than just money to the relationship.
“This new partnership will allow us to leverage the extensive expertise of Bristol-Myers Squibb across multiple disease areas,” Torphy said. “Combined with BioMotiv’s unique model and focus on accelerating breakthrough discoveries from leading academic institutions, we have the opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of patients.”
The agreement comes about three years after Bristol-Myers teamed up with a BioMotiv portfolio company, Dual Therapeutics. That deal saw Bristol-Myers pay an undisclosed upfront fee and commit to more than $255 million in milestones for the chance to license small molecules that block multiple cancer pathways, such as those that promote growth and survival.
Dual Therapeutics has since fallen off the radar—its web address is now unclaimed—but the model that brought it into the world continues to pump out new biotechs. Most of BioMotiv’s portfolio plays have relatively low profiles, but some have made headlines. Orca Pharmaceuticals, for example, formed a deal with AstraZeneca worth up to $122.5 million in 2015.