BMS, Ambrx ink deal to research, develop, commercialize diabetes, heart failure biologics

PRINCETON, N.J., and LA JOLLA, Calif. — Two drug makers have entered a collaboration for novel biologics programs in diabetes and heart failure.

Under the partnership, Bristol-Myers Squibb will receive exclusive worldwide rights to research, develop and commercialize biologics, based on research by Ambrx of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21) protein and relaxin hormone, which potentially can treat Type 2 diabetes and heart failure, respectively.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol will make an upfront payment of $24 million to Ambrx, as well as potential milestone payments and royalty payments on worldwide sales for both programs. Bristol and Ambrx also will enter research collaborations for both programs.

The lead compound in the FGF-21 program, ARX618 (or PEG-FGF-21) is in the final stages of preclinical development, while the relaxin program is in preclinical development.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb has a strong heritage discovering, developing and delivering medicines to treat diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Bristol-Myers Squibb SVP Francis Cuss said. “We are excited to be working with Ambrx, which has used its unique ReCode technology to create precisely engineered investigational biologics in both of these therapeutic areas. Our combined expertise will provide the best chance of bringing these innovative medicines to patients.”

“These programs have shown tremendous potential in preclinical studies, and we believe that Bristol-Myers Squibb has the necessary expertise to best lead their continued development,” Ambrx chief business officer Simon Allen said. “We look forward to using the revenues from this partnership to continue to grow our internal pipeline, which includes our promising antibody drug conjugate programs.”

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