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Bristol Myers Squibb: Licensing and partnership activity

March 15, 2022

With the Fierce Business Development and Licensing Summit for Life Sciences scheduled for mid-March, ResoluteAI examined the licensing and partnership activity of some of the pharmaceutical and life sciences companies planning to attend. Our second post covers Bristol Myers Squibb.

To view other life science companies in this series, see Eli Lilly and Genentech.

Bristol Myers Squibb and Immatics

At the tail end of a year that saw a 9% increase in total revenue, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) closed out 2021 by announcing an exclusive licensing agreement with small biopharmaceutical company Immatics. The deal will gain Immatics $150 million upfront (along with an additional minimum payment of $770 million), giving BMS development and commercial access to the most advanced product in their T Cell Engaging Receptor (TCER®) pipeline, IMA401.

Founded in Germany in 2002, Immatics’ R&D focuses on onco-immunology, particularly on the identification and targeting of prominent cancer cell proteins. Along with the off-the-shelf TCER® treatments, they are also working on personalized cell therapies. With such comprehensive goals, the graph below shows Immatics’ consistent year-over-year increase in patents.

Bar graph showing the growth of Immatics' patent portfolio year-over-yearGrowth of Immatics' patent portfolio year-over-year

By taking advantage of the specificity of the immune system’s T cell receptors (TCRs), Immatics engineers T cells with specialized TCRs that bind to peptides only found in or on cancer cells. By evaluating thousands of tissue samples from patients with and without cancer, true cancer-specific protein targets are identified. Immatics’ TCER® Bispecifics attach to cancerous cells using these modified receptors, while the alternate binding site attracts a circulating T cell to destroy them. 

Through the Publications database in Foundation, we can see that much of Immatics’ research in this field has appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, one of the most influential journals in cancer research. 

Heatmap of journals Immatics' research apppears inJournals Immatics' research apppears in

BMS and Immatics have some history. In 2019, BMS acquired competitor Celgene for a massive $74 billion. Celgene itself had previously partnered with Immatics, in a deal worth up to $1.5 billion. While the Celgene/Immatics partnership is currently in preclinical development, Celgene’s top drug, Revlimid, joined BMS’ impressive roster of chemotherapy agents. BMS has also begun to grow their collection of immunotherapy products, with the successful launches of Yervoy and Opdivo.


Bristol Myers Squibb and Prellis Biologics

In late January, BMS followed up the Immatics deal by entering into a new collaboration with San Francisco-based bioengineering startup Prellis Biologics. While the value of the agreement is still unclear, Prellis will obtain the standard upfront sum, along with additional payments for milestones and royalties. Aside from BMS, the Crunchbase database on Foundation can demonstrate Prellis’ current financial backing by listing out all funding rounds, along with total amount raised.

Example of Prellis' current financial backing on Foundation's Crunchbase database.Example of Prellis' current financial backing on Foundation's Crunchbase database.

Using proprietary 3D printing technology, Prellis is able to produce synthetic human tissue, allowing them to create biological models in vitro. Their Externalized Immune System (EXIS) platform allows researchers to induce functional human immune responses, leading to antibody creation. With this licensing agreement, BMS and Prellis will use EXIS to generate antibody libraries for precise targets, potentially speeding up drug development.

You can learn more about Bristol Myers Squibb’s licensing process from BD&L speaker Karen Martell linkedin

This information was discovered using Foundation, the scientific discovery engine. For more information on Foundation and ResoluteAI’s analytical tools, please contact us at info@resolute.ai or use the link below.


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ResoluteAI is the research platform for science. Foundation lets commercial science enterprises search aggregated scientific, regulatory, and business databases simultaneously. Nebula is our enterprise search tool for science. Combined with our interactive analytics and downloadable visualizations, ResoluteAI helps make connections that lead to breakthrough discoveries. Used in R&D, medical affairs, post market surveillance, and pharmacovigilance by scientific organizations around the world, ResoluteAI won the BCS Search Industry Award for Most Promising Start-Up in 2021.