Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has completed the acquisition of biotechnology firm Flexus Biosciences for around $1.25bn.

Under the deal, Flexus has received an upfront payment of $800m, in addition to the development milestone payments that could total up to $450m.

Established in 2013, Flexus develops and commercialises small-molecule cancer immunotherapies targeting regulatory T cells.

As part of the deal, BMS received full rights to F001287, Flexus’s lead preclinical, small-molecule IDO1-inhibitor targeted for IND filing in the second half of this year.

The deal also includes the acquisition of Flexus’s IDO/TDO discovery programme that includes its IDO-selective, IDO/TDO dual and TDO-selective compound libraries.

"Flexus has received an upfront payment of $800m."

All non-IDO/TDO assets of Flexus, from and after the closing, will be retained by the newly formed entity created by the current shareholders.

The new entity also retains assets related to Flexus’s Phase I FLT3 and CDK4/6 inhibitor, its earlier stage small-molecule Treg cancer immunotherapy programmes and current personnel and facilities.

At the time of acquisition, Bristol-Myers Squibb executive vice-president and chief scientific officer Francis Cuss said: "Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to leading scientific advances in immuno-oncology and our acquisition of Flexus will expand our innovative pipeline with an important approach to enhancing immune responses in cancer.

Flexus Biosciences CEO Terry Rosen added: "Bristol Myers Squibb is a recognised leader in the cancer immunotherapy field, and we are delighted with the opportunity to have their organisation advance the development of our potentially best-in-class IDO/TDO inhibitors and to bring more innovative cancer immunotherapies to patients."

Image: A research campus operated by Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey, US. Photo: courtesy of Coolcaesar.