Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired iPierian, a privately held biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of new treatments for Tauopathies, a class of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the pathological aggregation of Tau protein in the human brain.
The acquisition gives Bristol-Myers Squibb full rights to iPierian's lead asset IPN007, an innovative preclinical monoclonal antibody that represents a promising new approach to treat progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and other Tauopathies, and has the potential to commence Phase 1 clinical trials by early 2015. Genetically defined diseases, such as PSP, are caused by a known change in the genome. Knowledge of this genomic change is then used to design a therapeutic approach aimed precisely at that molecular defect, such as the anti-Tau antibody for PSP.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired all of iPierian's issued and outstanding shares of capital stock and all common stock equivalents in an all cash transaction for a purchase price of $175 million, with the potential for additional development and regulatory milestone payments totaling $550 million, along with future royalties on net sales. The transaction is expected to be accounted for as an asset acquisition for Bristol-Myers Squibb resulting in a $175 million charge during the second quarter of 2014.
"As part of our evolution to a diversified specialty BioPharma company, we have identified genetically defined diseases as an area where the company has an opportunity to significantly advance the standard of care for patients with limited treatment options," said Francis Cuss, executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "The acquisition of iPierian supports our growing efforts in this area and builds on Bristol-Myers Squibbâs internal expertise and alliances focused on the Tau pathway and neurodegenerative diseases."
"iPierian's discovery of a novel mechanism of secreted Tau biology was the basis of the IPN007 program," said Dr. Nancy Stagliano, chief executive officer of iPierian. "The Bristol-Myers Squibb acquisition reinforces the importance of this finding and we are gratified that IPN007 is strongly positioned now to potentially offer a new therapeutic option to progressive supranuclear palsy patients."
"In innovative drug discovery related to the Tau pathway, Bristol-Myers Squibb and iPierian are uniquely matched, both strategically and scientifically," said Dr. Peter Van Vlasselaer, executive chairman of iPierian. "Bristol-Myers Squibbâ's global leadership in Tau biology and antibody development creates an ideal setting to accelerate and fully develop the clinical potential of IPN007."
Tau is a protein that binds the cellâs internal skeleton and may help regulate the activity of brain cells. Tau forms abnormal deposits called neurofibrillary tangles which can disrupt activity of brain cells and lead to disease. Additionally, Tau is secreted and may drive disease spread and progression. By identifying targets that prevent or reverse Tau dysfunction, it may be possible to identify novel therapeutic strategies to modify the course of a disease. Initial development focus for IPN007 would be on progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare brain disease with Tau dysfunction that presents as an atypical parkinsonian disorder, with the potential for future development in other Tauopathies such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimerâs disease (AD) for which no disease modifying treatments exist.