Bayer has entered a strategic collaboration agreement with biotechnology company Bicycle Therapeutics to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialise Bicycle’s radioconjugates for a number of oncology targets.

The collaboration will see Bicycle use its phage platform to discover and develop bicyclic peptides while Bayer will fully fund and manage further preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation aspects. 

Bicycle will receive an upfront payment of $45m and up to $1.7bn as potential development and commercially based milestone fees.

The company will also receive tiered commercial royalties on Bicycle-based medicines commercialised by Bayer.

Bicyclic peptides feature amino acids that can be manufactured synthetically. Binding to their targets with high affinity and selectivity, they enable high tumour penetration and quick excretion from healthy organs.

They are also chemically synthesisable and have a low molecular weight and tunable pharmacokinetics, with a large surface area for molecular interactions that enable protein-protein interactions to be targeted.

The two firms will jointly use peptide technology to develop bicyclic peptides for many undisclosed oncology targets.

Targeted radiotherapies are a new kind of cancer therapy. Their distinct mode of action brings the potential to tap a wide opportunity space and cater to patients with high unmet medical needs.

Bicycle Therapeutics CEO Kevin Lee stated: “Bayer is a pioneer in the radiopharmaceuticals space and provides new and additional validation of our unique technology.

“We believe our bicyclic peptide platform, coupled with Bayer’s scale and expertise in developing radiopharmaceuticals, has the potential to deliver improved clinical outcomes for patients with cancer.

“We look forward to collaborating with Bayer to bring forward new potential first-in-class radiopharmaceutical treatments.”

Bayer Pharmaceuticals division executive committee member and research and development global head Christian Rommel stated: “At Bayer, we enter strategic collaborations to expand our access to innovation.

“With Bicycle’s proprietary peptide-based technology, we continue to strengthen our oncology development pipeline by adding next-generation targeted radiotherapeutics to address high unmet medical needs of cancer patients.”

The transaction’s closure is subject to clearance under the UK National Security and Investment Act 2021.