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Bristol Myers Squibb Offers bluebird bio a $200 Million Royalty Buyout

By Cory Renauer – Updated May 11, 2020 at 12:02PM

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The pharma giant and the smaller biotech will keep working together on a couple of promising CAR-T cancer therapies.

A couple of complex collaboration agreements that Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY 0.72%) inherited from Celgene are about to get a lot simpler. The big pharma is going to buy out its obligations to bluebird bio (BLUE 2.80%) in all territories outside of the U.S. for just $200 million.

Another amendment

Back in 2013, Celgene and bluebird bio made a deal to develop new cancer therapies with immune cells derived from multiple myeloma patients that have been trained to recognize and attack cancer cells once they're reinfused into patients. The amended deal that Bristol Meyers Squibb inherited from Celgene has grown to include milestone and royalty payments for two chimeric antigen receptor-modified T-cell (CAR-T) therapy candidates in late clinical-stage development, ide-cel, and its potential followup, bb21217.

People shaking hands.

Image source: Getty Images.

On May 8, bluebird bio and Bristol Myers amended their agreement again. Under the current terms, the partners will share equally in profits and losses related to ide-cel in the U.S., but bluebird is no longer entitled to receive milestones or royalties for either drug in any other territories.

Still waiting

On March 31, Bristol Myers and bluebird bio submitted an application to the FDA that could make ide-cel a new treatment option for multiple myeloma patients whose cancers have progressed despite three previous lines of treatment. The FDA is expected to grant ide-cel a shortened six-month review instead of the standard 10-month process, but the agency hasn't officially agreed to review the application yet.

The agency has 60 days to pick up a new drug application or else mark it incomplete and send it back.

Cory Renauer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bluebird Bio and Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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