Deal strengthens cancer antibody alliance with Five Prime Therapeutics

US pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb has entered into a worldwide license and collaboration with Five Prime Therapeutics to develop and commercialise Five Prime’s colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) antibodies. The deal replaces previous agreements between the companies, and is part of an ongoing trend for drugmakers to investigate combination cancer immunotherapies.

The collaboration focuses on the CSF1R inhibiting antibody FPA008, which reduces the number of immunosuppressive tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs), facilitating an immune response against tumours. Five Prime will continue to evaluate the efficacy of combining of FPA008 with Opdivo (nivolumab), BMS’s already-approved cancer antibody, in six tumour types. At the same time, Five Prime will investigate combinations of FPA008 with its own immuno-oncology candidates.

BMS is to pay up to $1.7 billion (£1.1 billion), including $350 million up front, plus payments for passing developmental and regulatory milestones. Five Prime will also receive royalties on sales of any drugs resulting from the collaboration.