Bristol-Myers' 'smart bomb' deal pushes Ambrx 12-month deal tally to $715M

Just a month after landing a $15 million payday for a deal with Astellas to collaborate on new antibody drug conjugates for cancer, the San Diego-based biotech Ambrx has scored another research pact--reaping another $15 million upfront from Bristol-Myers ($BMY) in exchange for a new oncology partnership.

There's no word on the target, of course, but Ambrx also stands to gain up to $97 million in milestones on each of any ADCs it develops, with a slice of the royalties on marketed products.  

Bristol-Myers has now doubled down on its relationship with Ambrx. BMS signed a pair of development pacts with the ADC developer back in 2011, gaining new drug candidates that target the Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 protein for Type 2 diabetes and the Relaxin hormone for heart failure. 

Now that Kadcyla (T-DM1) and Adcetris have blazed a path to the market, these "smart bomb" programs are all the rage in biopharma, promising to deliver a payload of drugs right to the target. And San Diego-based Ambrx has emerged as one of the top players in the field of new ADC work, offering partners a shot at a new-and-improved ADC with enhanced site specificity. In the last 12 months the biotech also struck a deal with Merck ($MRK), which also paid $15 million upfront. Ambrx has now scored $45 million in cash from that slate of three pacts with $670 million in potential milestones.

Ambrx, a 2005 Fierce 15 company, hasn't neglected its own in-house work. The biotech wrapped a Phase IIb study for ARX201, a long-acting growth hormone. 

"Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical leader with expertise developing and commercializing novel medicines for the treatment of cancer and other diseases, and we are pleased to enter into a third collaboration with the company to include another aspect of our technology platform," said Lawson Macartney, the chief executive officer of Ambrx. "We look forward to working together to further utilize Ambrx's technology to discover and advance these antibody drug conjugates for oncology indications."

- here's the press release

Special Reports: Ambrx - 2005 Fierce 15 | 2005 Fierce 15: Where are they now?