Bristol-Myers Squibb gains option to buy Galecto Biotech for up to $444 million

Bristol-Myers Squibb gained an option to acquire Galecto Biotech, along with its experimental drug TD139 for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), under a deal potentially worth up to $444 million, the companies reported Monday. The transaction includes an option fee and an option exercise fee, as well as clinical and regulatory milestone payments.

As part of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb can exercise the option to acquire Galecto at any time following the execution of the transaction, but no later than 60 days following completion of the Phase Ib trial for TD139. The companies have agreed on preclinical studies and a Phase I development plan for the inhaled galectin-3 inhibitor, which will be performed by Galecto during the option period. Galecto indicated that it will initiate clinical studies in early 2015.

Francis Cuss, chief scientific officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, noted that developing "medicines that halt or slow the progression of fibrotic diseases is a key part of our R&D strategy to build a sustainable pipeline." Cuss added "TD139 provides Bristol-Myers Squibb an opportunity to advance the company's fibrosis development programme with the addition of a promising compound that has the potential to modulate multiple disease pathways." The drugmaker's pipeline of investigational IPF treatments includes BMS-986020, an antagonist of the lysophosphatidic acid 1 receptor, which is in early-stage development.

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