Bicycle earns $45m plus top-up payments in California deal
Bicycle Therapeutics is set for a multimillion dollar bonanza from a deal with California company Ionis Pharmaceuticals.
Ionis has exercised its option and entered into an exclusive worldwide licence and collaboration agreement for tissue-targeted delivery of oligonucleotide therapeutics using Bicycles with high affinity to the transferrin receptor (TfR1).
Ionis had an option for an exclusive licence under the terms of a December 2020 evaluation and option agreement. The agreement granted Ionis the right to evaluate tissue-targeting TfR1 binding Bicycles as vehicles to deliver oligonucleotide therapeutics to specific organ systems and an option to obtain an exclusive licence at the end of the evaluation period.
Cambridge, UK-headquartered Bicycle receives a total of $45 million up front, which includes a licence fee, an option fee and an $11 million equity investment.
The NASDAQ-quoted business is also eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and royalties for each programme developed under the collaboration.
Bicycle CEO Kevin Lee said: “This agreement stems from a highly successful collaboration with Ionis that began earlier in the year, during which Bicycles were shown to selectively deliver oligonucleotide payloads into TfR1-expressing tissue.
“These data build upon our own work, and that of our partners, which has shown Bicycles targeted to tumour antigens can rapidly and selectively deliver a variety of payloads into solid tumours.
“This tissue-targeting payload-delivery capability is facilitated by the unique nature of Bicycles that inherently enables the conjugation of a diverse range of molecular cargos without impacting the pharmacology of the target.
“We believe Bicycles have the potential to become the targeting technology of choice for the development of precision medicines.”
Bicycle has identified binders that it believes to be the first small molecules to target TfR1 with high specificity without modifying TfR1’s natural function.
These binders present broad conjugation potential across multiple payloads, thereby resulting in the potential to treat diseases in multiple therapeutic areas, including those of the skeletal and cardiac muscles and of the central nervous system.
Bicycle is currently also collaborating with the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) to advance potential TfR1 Bicycles for treating dementia.
Ionis and Bicycle will collaborate to develop a pipeline of oligonucleotide therapeutic product candidates delivered using the tissue-targeting TfR1 Bicycle technology, while Bicycle retains the rights to use TfR1 Bicycles for all non-oligonucleotide therapeutic purposes, including within its existing collaboration with DDF targeting dementia.