Bristol-Myers Squibb and uniQure to develop gene therapies for cardiovascular diseases

BM-S will initially take a 4.9% stake in the Dutch company

Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to invest in and co-develop gene therapy medicines with Dutch company uniQure.

The agreement provides Bristol-Myers Squibb with exclusive rights to uniQure's gene therapy technology platform for up to 10 different targets, including S100A1, a calcium sensor and master regulator of heart function.

Beyond cardiovascular diseases, the agreement also includes the potential for collaboration in other disease areas.

Under the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, Bristol-Myers Squibb will make near-term payments of around US$100m to uniQure, and is also buying an initial 4.9% stake in the firm for at least $32m in total. Bristol-Myers Squibb will acquire an extra 5% before the end of 2015 at a 10% premium.

uniQure will also be eligible to receive research, development and regulatory milestone payments, including up to $254m for the lead S100A1 therapeutic, and up to $217m for each other gene therapy product potentially developed under the collaboration. The company could also receive sales based milestone payments and royalties.

Carl Decicco, Head of Discovery, R&D at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said the deal strengthens the company's capability to bring forward new therapies for difficult-to-treat diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.

Joern Aldag, Chief Executive of uniQure, added that the collaboration will accelerate the application of gene therapy for patients suffering from heart diseases and complement the further development of the company’s internal pipeline in two areas: liver diseases, including haemophilia, and CNS, including lysosomal storage diseases.

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