Merck & Co., BIND Therapeutics Form Nanomedicines Pact

Merck & Co., and BIND Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage nanomedicine platform company, have formed a joint research and development agreement to discover and develop nanomedicines for oncology. This collaboration will leverage BIND’s proprietary nanomedicine technology to create targeted Accurins, proprietary polymeric nanoparticles with a therapeutic payload that are designed to have prolonged circulation within the bloodstream to enable targeting of the diseased tissue or cells for the controlled and timely release of the therapeutic payload. The agreement focuses on potent payloads from Merck’s preclinical oncology portfolio.

The first two Merck compounds include a kinesin spindle protein (KSP) inhibitor and a polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitor. Both KSP and PLK1 are regulators of cellular mitosis and are considered essential to the proliferation of cancer cells. These pathways have proven difficult to target effectively using conventional agents due to therapeutic index limitations.

Under the agreement, BIND will apply its Medicinal Nanoengineering platform to develop targeted Accurins based initially on Merck-supplied investigational KSP and PLK1 inhibitors. The agreement also includes the option to incorporate additional Merck compounds in the future. BIND will fund and conduct research and development activities to advance Accurin product candidates based on these agents through first-in-human clinical studies, after which Merck and BIND will alternate in choosing whether or not to further develop and commercialize the Accurin products. If BIND opts in, in most scenarios, there will be no payments made to Merck beyond a royalty on future product sales. If Merck opts in, it will pay BIND a fee based on a multiple of BIND’s research and development expenses, plus a royalty on future product sales. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

BIND is leveraging its Medicinal Nanoengineering platform to develop a pipeline of Accurins, initially in oncology, as well as Accurins in collaboration with biopharmaceutical companies. BIND’s lead drug candidate, BIND-014, is an Accurin that targets PSMA and contains docetaxel, a widely used cancer chemotherapy drug. BIND-014 is currently in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. The company also has ongoing collaborations with Pfizer,  AstraZeneca, and Roche to develop Accurins based on those companies’ proprietary therapeutic payloads and targeting ligands. BIND’s platform originated from nanotechnology research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School of BIND’s scientific founders, Dr. Robert Langer and Dr. Omid Farokhzad.

Source: BIND Therapeutics

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