Biopharmaceutical Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and the non-profit organization California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) have established a worldwide research collaboration focused on the development of novel small molecule anti-fibrotic therapies, as well as an exclusive license agreement for the company to develop, manufacture and commercialize preclinical compounds from Calibr that result from the partnership.
Bristol-Myers and Calibr are particularly dedicated to the identification of novel medications able to cease or delay the progression of fibrotic disease, as the company’s R&D strategy is already working towards that purpose, as well as improving the current standard of care. In addition, Calibr’s efforts are focused on accelerating basic biomedical findings and translating it into novel therapeutic options.
Therefore, the research collaboration aims to join expertise into identifying and optimizing the anti-fibrotic properties of small molecules within high-throughput screening, target identification, and preclinical drug discovery infrastructure. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Calibr expect the transaction to be closed in the next three months, which is subject to customary closing conditions, such as clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
“Progressing our small molecule anti-fibrotic program toward the clinic represents a critical step in our mission to deliver therapies for unmet medical needs to patients,” said Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D., Institute Director and Founder of Calibr, on a press release from Bristol. “We are delighted to accelerate these efforts by partnering with Bristol-Myers Squibb.”
Addressing the unmet need of treating fibrosis has been on going focus for BMS, which currently has among its portfolio a lysophosphatidic acid 1 (LPA1) receptor antagonist, called BMS-986020, a therapy for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in the phase 2 of development, as well as a CCR2/5 dual antagonist for the treatment of diabetic kidney disease also in its phase 2 of development.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb’s collaboration with Calibr further strengthens our Specialty portfolio and advances the company’s fibrotic diseases pipeline with the addition of this promising program,” said Carl Decicco, Ph.D., Head of Discovery, R&D, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Calibr’s innovative discovery program in fibrosis represents an opportunity to develop new treatment approaches for patients,” Decicco added, while the financial terms of the agreement are not yet known.
Last November, Bristol signed an agreement with Galecto Biotech AB, granting Bristol the exclusive option to acquire Galecto, as well as the global rights for its lead products, an investigational inhaled inhibitor of galectin-3 for the treatment IPF and other pulmonary fibrotic conditions called TD139. The therapy is currently in phase 1 of development and is expected to improve the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis by slowing the progression of the disease.