12:00 AM
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Dec 15, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Swoop and scoop

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. didn't wait long to pick up a late-stage oncology asset plus an earlier-stage compound from Exelixis Inc. that GlaxoSmithKline plc had just passed up. For BMS, the deal adds diversity to the targets in its cancer pipeline. For Exelixis, the upfront money nearly quadruples the cash it would otherwise have had by mid-2009, without dilution.

On Oct. 23, GSK declined to exercise its option to license any of five available cancer compounds from Exelixis, thereby ending a six-year R&D collaboration. BMS immediately put a team of scientists to work evaluating the compounds and took two, as part of its goal of building a cancer pipeline with a wide variety of MOAs.

"The future is combination therapies to suppress cancer through different mechanisms," Jeremy Levin, SVP of BMS's Strategic Transactions Group, told BioCentury.

Levin said the company's thinking is based on the fact tumor cells frequently use redundant pathways to survive. "We're looking to get a pipeline of compounds with multiple mechanisms so we can treat patients with combination therapies," he said.

The deal gives BMS rights to XL184, a spectrum-selective kinase inhibitor (SSKI) targeting VEGF receptor 2 (KDR/Flk-1), Ret proto-oncogene (RET) and c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase, and XL281, a Raf kinase inhibitor.

Exelixis will receive...

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