IL-8 is a protein expressed by many solid tumors within the tumor microenvironment that suppresses the immune system and increases the ability of tumors to metastasize. By targeting IL-8, HuMax-IL8 offers the potential to enhance immune response and increase the efficacy of existing cancer medicines through combination therapy. The rights to HuMax-IL8 were acquired by Cormorant from Genmab A/S in 2012 under an exclusive license agreement.
"We believe combination therapy will be foundational to delivering the potential for long-term survival for patients, and the opportunity to develop the HuMax-IL8 antibody program together with our broad Immuno-Oncology pipeline enables us to accelerate the next wave of potentially transformational immunotherapies," said Francis Cuss, MB BChir, FRCP, executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb.
"Bristol-Myers Squibb is the ideal company to maximize the potential of both Cormorant and the HuMax-IL8 program, and bring hope to more patients," said Maarten de Château, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer, Cormorant Pharmaceuticals. "Bristol-Myers Squibb is the leader in the Immuno-Oncology field, with deep clinical development and regulatory expertise, and an established commercial infrastructure to deliver important new therapies to patients quickly. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s rich pipeline of clinical candidates and approved products provides even more opportunity for potential therapeutic synergy when coupled with HuMax-IL8."
The transaction includes upfront and near term contingent milestone payments of up to US $95 million and additional contingent consideration of up to US $425 million upon the achievement by Bristol-Myers Squibb of certain development and regulatory milestones.
The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and by the stockholders of Cormorant.
Cormorant Pharmaceuticals is a privately held, biopharmaceutical company founded by Maarten de Château and Urban Paulsson. The company is based at the Karolinska Institute Science Park in Stockholm, Sweden. Based on mounting research pointing to IL-8 being an important driver of malignant tumors, HuMax-IL8 was acquired from Genmab A/S and taken into development by Cormorant. HuMax-IL8, is a fully human monoclonal antibody.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.