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5 October, 2006 - 14:55 By Staff Reporter

Potential £100m deal for Biotica

Serial bio entrepreneur, Dr Mark Bodmer has seen his most recent venture sign a research deal with American colossus, Wyeth that could be worth well over £100m.Cambridge University spin-out Biotica Technology, which Dr Bodmer joined as CEO in 2004, has granted Wyeth worldwide rights to its most advanced drug candidates and the technology to discover new compounds.

The companies will collaborate on a multi-product discovery program from which Wyeth will cherry-pick the compounds it wants to commercialise. Biotica will receive an initial payment, research support and milestone payments, which could total up to $195 (£103m) if a number of products are successful. On top of that, Biotica will also receive royalties on product sales.

The alliance is based on Biotica's biosynthetic engineering technology that can be used to create compounds that are not readily accessible through conventional synthetic chemistry. Biotica uses this technology to mine fertile but previously unexplored chemical space around high-value, validated natural products, such as rapamycin.

Wyeth has extensive experience with rapamycin both with its currently marketed immunosuppressant, Rapamuneâ (sirolimus) and with temsirolimus (CCI-779) which is in late-stage clinical development for the treatment of cancer.

“Wyeth is our ideal partner for this collaboration because of its leadership in the discovery, development and commercialization of this class of molecules.” said Dr Bodmer.

Biotica has hit the big time after being on the circuit for a considerable amount of time. It was first established ten years ago by Professors Peter Leadlay and Jim Staunton as a vehicle for industrial research collaborations to commercially exploit their work on polyketide genetic engineering.

Dr Bodmer joined in 2004, having previously been CEO at Lorantis, a Cambridge company that was acquired by New Jersey based Celldex Therapeutics last year. His first start-up having left Celltech in the late nineties was Hexagen, which was alo acquired by a US company, Incyte Pharmaceuticals.

When asked by Business Weekly about his future strategy for the company, Dr Bodmer said: “As a result of the Wyeth deal we are in good financial shape for the foreseeable future and our plan is to continue privately to use our

technology to create assets that will allow us to do further deals along

the same lines. This strategy has the potential to generate very high

value for the closely held shares in the company.”

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