Bioverativ and Bicycle Therapeutics Partner for Rare Blood Disease Research

Mathew Shanley

Global biotechnology company Bioverativ Inc. has announced a research collaboration with Bicycle Therapeutics Ltd., in which the 2 sides will focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel treatments for sickle cell disease and hemophilia.

With the potential to receive up to $410 million related to development, regulatory and commercialization milestones for products, Bicycle will receive $10 million up front, and be held accountable for directing initial discovery activities through lead optimization to candidate selection for 2 programs.

Sickle cell disease is a condition in which a patient has hard, sticky, C-shaped (like the farm tool, the “sickle) red blood cells. Patients are at an increased risk for infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke because of these red blood cells clogging smaller blood vessels. Per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institute of Health (NIH), approximately 100,000 Americans are affected by the condition, and an estimated 1 in every 365 African American children is born with it.

In hemophilia, which can be fatal if not properly managed, the body’s ability to produce a blood clot is either harshly reduced or completely eliminated. The 2 primary forms of the condition, hemophilia A and hemophilia B, are due to deficiencies in coagulating factor VII and factor IX, respectively. It affects roughly 20,000 people in the United States, and an estimated 400,000 people worldwide.

The partnership will attempt to determine and create Bicycles, which are defined as new therapeutic modalities that combine attributes of antibodies, small molecules and peptides with a single molecule. The combination is intended to enable high selectivity and affinity while at the same time being able to penetrate and bind to the target(s) of interest within the body.

“We are constantly exploring new ways to do innovative science to find new molecules that can advance the care of people living with rare blood disorders,” said Tim Harris, Ph.D., D.Sc., Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Bioverativ in a press release.

“This collaboration offers a unique opportunity to identify an entirely new therapeutic modality that may lead to meaningful new treatments and outcomes for people living with hemophilia and sickle cell disease. We are delighted to be working with Bicycle to pursue our shared goal of creating progress for patients with great unmet treatment needs.”

In addition to the milestone payments related to development, Bicycle is also eligible to receive tiered single to low double-digit royalties as it pertains to product sales.

“We believe our Bicycle platform has extremely broad therapeutic potential and we are excited to work with Bioverativ, a standout leader in the hematology field, to explore Bicycles in this important area of clinical need,” said Kevin Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle Therapeutics. “Combining Bioverativ’s deep expertise in hematology with our powerful platform offers great promise for the development of novel, targeted therapies for patients. This alliance provides the latest validation of our Bicycle platform and furthers our strategy to evaluate its potential in a wide range of new disease areas.”

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