Resurgent Pfizer partners with Bind on new nanotech drug effort

Just a few months after inking a tie-up with Amgen, Bind Therapeutics has come back from the deal table with another marquee partner looking to use its nanoengineering platform to launch newly amped-up treatments into the clinic. This time around it's Pfizer ($PFE)--which has been relatively quiet in the deal-making world over the last few years as it restructured its R&D division--which hopes to find value in new nanotechnology developed in the lab of MIT's Robert Langer. And the biotech has raised a new round of $20 million from its venture backers to steer its own lead drug through a mid-stage course.

Pfizer is keeping the disease focus and number of targets under wraps for now, but the two companies will partner on preclinical research aimed at devising new Accurins--marrying precise delivery with highly potent doses--with the pharma giant responsible for the clinical development of any new program that comes from the pact. Bind is in line to get $50 million in upfront and development milestones along with up to $160 million in sales and regulatory milestones for any drugs that go the distance.

"We first met with them a couple of years ago, when they were in the midst of the reorganization," recalls Bind CEO Scott Minick. Even though they weren't as active at partnering as in years past, an assessment of the most important new technology in the industry led Pfizer to spotlight nanotechnology as one of the most significant in the field. And today's deal was the result of lengthy discussions that followed.

This year marks another crucial turning point for Bind. The biotech, a 2008 Fierce 15 company, raised a new round of $20 million, which it hadn't disclosed until now. That money will see its lead drug--the cancer drug BIND-014--through Phase II development. And with two industry leaders working with its team of 35 staffers--now set to grow to about 40--Minick wants to build a reputation for spearheading new technology that offers to significantly step-up drug efficacy and safety. 

"Pharma has reached an inflection point in terms of understanding nanotech," says the CEO. And that bodes well for Bind.

The pact also marks a key change for Pfizer, which has been spinning out more drug programs than it brought in in recent years. Pfizer completed its reorganization last year, though, and is now focusing on a new wave of late-stage drugs as well as promising translational work.  

- here's the press release

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