Bristol-Myers Squibb to buy IFM Therapeutics for $300m


Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has entered a definitive agreement to purchase all outstanding capital stock of IFM Therapeutics (IFM) for $300m.

IFM Therapeutics is a venture-backed biotechnology company which develops therapies that modulate new targets in the innate immune system to treat cancer, autoimmunity and inflammatory disorders.

The innate immune system is the body’s first line of immunological response and the master regulator of subsequent immune activity.

With the acquisition, BMS will obtain complete rights to two of IFM programmes, which include preclinical stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and NLRP3 agonist programmes focused on increasing innate immune response for the treatment of cancer.

While the STING agonist programme involves a main asset that enhances IFM’s efforts against the target, the NLRP3 agonist programme deals with a potential first-in-class pipeline candidate.

"The addition of STING and NLRP3 agonist programmes broadens our ability to investigate additional pathways across the immune system and complements our immuno-oncology portfolio."

BMS executive vice-president and chief scientific officer Dr Thomas Lynch said: “Targeting innate immunity pathways represents a potentially differentiated approach in immuno-oncology designed to initiate and augment immune responses that may help the body’s natural defences better recognise and attack tumours.

“The addition of STING and NLRP3 agonist programmes broadens our ability to investigate additional pathways across the immune system and complements our immuno-oncology portfolio.”

Under the deal, IFM shareholders will have the potential to receive additional contingent payments of up to $1.01bn for each of the first products from the two programmes upon the attainment of certain development, regulatory and sales milestones.

Once the transaction is completed, a new entity will be set up by the current shareholders of IFM.

The new establishment is expected to retain the company’s current personnel and facilities, in addition to its remaining research programmes, which include an NLRP3 antagonist programme focused on decreasing immune responses that lead to inflammatory diseases and fibrosis.

The transaction is slated to conclude during the third quarter of this year.