Schrödinger's in-house pipeline helps fetch $2.7B molecule discovery deal with BMS

Like AstraZeneca, Bayer and Sanofi before it, Bristol Myers Squibb has now tapped molecule modeler Schrödinger for a drug discovery collaboration spanning multiple disease areas.

However, their deal also includes two biological targets from Schrödinger’s stable of wholly owned R&D programs—HIF-2α in kidney cancer as well as SOS1- and KRAS-driven tumors, both in the early discovery phase—which the company could hand off for eventual clinical testing. 

The serial Big Pharma partner will receive $55 million upfront in the deal, with BMS committing to up to $2.7 billion in milestone payments linked to success over different stages of development. Schrödinger will be entitled to royalties from any commercialized therapies, but it will also cover the cost of the early discovery work itself.

In return, BMS will receive exclusive worldwide rights to candidate molecules produced by Schrödinger’s cloud computing platform, which aims to predict how well a potential drug will affect a targeted protein, helping optimize its chemical properties before the company begins the more expensive task of proving its worth in the clinic.

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“We see tremendous potential in bringing together our drug discovery expertise with Bristol Myers Squibb's depth of experience in development and commercialization,” said Schrödinger’s chief biomedical scientist and head of discovery R&D, Karen Akinsanya.

Three additional targets were not disclosed but will include therapies for neurological and immunological diseases.

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Last year, Schrödinger raised $110 million to help kick-start its in-house drug development pipeline, which to date covers cancers of the esophagus, lung, breast, pancreas and ovaries as well as resistant or relapsed lymphomas. Since then, the company went public with a $232 million IPO to maintain the work, as it continues to move deeper into biomedical R&D.

Meanwhile, BMS recently inked a similarly structured deal with insitro to wield the latter’s artificial-intelligence-powered platform to create stem cell disease models for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia research. That includes $50 million upfront plus up to $2 billion in milestones for any successful ALS treatments.