BMS spends $200m to buy bluebird out of CAR-T payments

By Ben Hargreaves contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Nito100)
(Image: Getty/Nito100)

Related tags: Bristol Myers Squibb, bluebird bio, CAR-T

With the partners’ CAR-T therapy under review by the FDA, BMS chooses to purchase bluebird’s royalty rights and take control of ex-US manufacturing.

Bristol Myers Squibb picked up the partnership deal with bluebird bio when it acquired Celgene​ at the beginning of last year.

The deal​ saw Celgene and bluebird share 50% of US costs and profits on the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy, ice-cel, and its potential follow up treatment, bb21217, while the latter company would be in line for milestone and royalty payments.

The treatment is being developed to treat people with myeloma and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing the therapy.

Ahead of a decision by the FDA, BMS decided to return to the partnership deal to renegotiate the terms, which saw the two parties agree that bluebird would receive $200m (€183m) in return for the forfeiture of future ex-US milestone payments and royalties.

The initial agreement also held the option for Celgene to take the lead in manufacturing the treatment outside of the US, which BMS has now decided to action, allowing it sole responsibility for commercialization and manufacturing ex-US.

For bluebird, Joanne Smith-Farrell, chief business officer at the company, stated that this would allow it to ‘refocus’ resources on its internal programs and pipeline.

Bluebird is currently constructing its own lentiviral vector (LVV) production facility​ in Durham, US, which will support the commercial manufacture of bb2121 in the US, should it receive approval from the FDA.

BMS noted that it would assume responsibility for the manufacture of LVV outside of the US ‘over time’.

The amended deal still sees both partners share equally profits and losses in the US.

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