Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of common stock of clinical-stage radiopharmaceutical therapeutics (RPT) company RayzeBio in a total equity value of nearly $4.1bn.

The business combination deal is part of BMS’ strategy to bolster its radiopharmaceutical platform.

RayzeBio has a pipeline comprising therapies for solid tumours including gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEP-NETs), small cell lung cancerhepatocellular carcinoma and other tumours.

RYZ101, the lead programme of the company is presently in a Phase III clinical trial to treat patients with SSTR-positive GEP-NETs who have received lutetium-177 based somatostatin treatments.

According to the interim data from the Phase Ib part of the ACTION-1 clinical trial, RYZ101 treatment showed to have encouraging tolerability and efficacy.

Another Phase Ib trial is presently assessing RYZ101 as a first-line treatment for ES-SCLC patients given along with standard-of-care therapy.

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Apart from RYZ101, other assets of the company include RYZ801 for hepatocellular carcinoma as well as a CA9-directed compound for renal cell cancer.

RayzeBio also has various preclinical assets for solid tumours in the developmental stage.

The boards of directors of both BMS and RayzeBio have granted unanimous approval for the merger.

RayzeBio is constructing a manufacturing facility in Indianapolis, US, with GMP drug manufacturing anticipated to commence in the first half of next year.

Subject to necessary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the deal is anticipated to conclude in the first half of next year.

Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Christopher Boerner said: “This transaction enhances our increasingly diversified oncology portfolio by bringing a differentiated platform and pipeline, and further strengthens our growth opportunities in the back half of the decade and beyond.

“Radiopharmaceutical therapeutics are already transforming cancer care, and RayzeBio is at the forefront of pioneering the application of this novel modality.

“We look forward to supporting and accelerating RayzeBio’s preclinical and clinical programmes and advancing its highly innovative radiopharmaceutical platform.”

In December this year, the US Food and Drug Administration accepted BMS’ supplemental biologics licence application (sBLA)v for Opdivo plus chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for unresectable or metastatic urothelial carcinoma, for priority review.