BMS Acquires Option to Acquire Biopharm Company F-star Alpha

Bristol-Myers Squibb and F-star Alpha Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, the UK, have entered into an agreement that provides Bristol-Myers Squibb the exclusive option to acquire F-star Alpha Ltd, and gain worldwide rights to its lead asset, FS102, an epidermal growth factor (HER2)-targeted therapy to treat breast and gastric cancer.

Under the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will make payments aggregating to $50 million that consist of an option fee for the right to acquire F-star Alpha Ltd., payment for certain rights and licenses from F-star Alpha Ltd., and a clinical milestone payment upon initiation of the Phase I trial. Bristol-Myers Squibb will be responsible for conducting and funding development of FS102 during the option period. Bristol-Myers Squibb can exercise the option to acquire F-star Alpha Ltd. in its sole discretion upon its decision to commence a Phase IIb trial. Total aggregate consideration may reach $475 million, which includes the payments aggregating to $50 million, the option exercise fee, and milestone payments upon the commencement of a Phase III clinical trial and regulatory approvals in the US and Europe.

FS102 is a HER2 targeted Fcab that has the potential to eliminate cancer cells through a mechanism of action in a biomarker-defined patient population. FS102 works differently than current HER2-targeted therapies, according to Bristol-Myers Squibb, with the potential to overcome resistance that has developed against other HER2-targeted drugs. It binds to a unique site on HER2 and then induces programmed cell death in HER2-positive tumor cells. In preclinical studies, FS102 has demonstrated encouraging efficacy against certain HER2-positive cancers and major regression in tumors, including those that are refractory to treatment with trastuzumab plus pertuzumab.

F-star GmbH and its wholly owned subsidiary F-star Biotechnology Ltd. (F-star) are focused on developing bispecific antibody products. In 2013, F-star established an asset-centric vehicle structure through the formation of F-star Alpha Ltd., which included out-licensing of FS102 from F-star to F-star Alpha Ltd.

F-star creates and develops Fcabs and bispecific antibodies by modifying the constant region of an antibody. In particular, F-star's Modular Antibody Technology enables discovery and development of bispecific antibodies by engineering additional binding sites into the constant region of an antibody. According to the company, this technology allows for characteristics of traditional monoclonal antibodies,without the production challenges often associated with other antibody formats. F-star is applying its proprietary technology to the development of a pipeline of product candidates.

Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb

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