UniQure pockets $53M as Bristol-Myers Squibb steps up gene therapy alliance

UniQure ($QURE) has netted another $53 million (€48 million) from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY). The deal sees BMS add three targets to its cardiovascular gene therapy collaboration and snaffle 1.3 million more of uniQure's shares, taking its stake in the Dutch drugmaker up toward 10%.

uniQure CEO Joern Aldag

Amsterdam-based uniQure picked up $15 million of the total amount in exchange for adding three targets to its collaboration with Bristol-Myers. The scope of the big-ticket gene therapy alliance the companies signed off on in May gives Bristol-Myers the right to add up to 10 targets to the collaboration. To date, BMS has designated four targets, the latest batch of which triggered the $15 million payout. The remaining $38 million handed over by BMS bought it 1.3 million shares in uniQure at a 26% premium over the company's closing price at the end of last week.

Having added the shares, BMS now owns 9.9% of uniQure. The terms of the deal inked earlier this year gave BMS an option to acquire two 5% tranches of uniQure's stock--at a premium price--at the time of the addition of new targets to the collaboration. For uniQure, the flow of money from BMS--more than $140 million has landed in its bank account already--and the follow-on offering it wrapped up in the wake of unveiling the alliance have given it a degree of fiscal flexibility as it plots the future of its internal pipeline of gene therapies.

"With the recent addition of more than $200 million in capital from our collaboration and the company's recent follow-on offering, we have the financial resources to meet the needs of our collaboration and advance the development of our proprietary pipeline focused on CNS and liver-directed diseases," uniQure CEO Joern Aldag said in a statement.

- read the release