Bristol-Myers Squibb and Oncolys BioPharma have signed a definitive agreement that will see Bristol-Myers obtain worldwide rights to manufacture, develop and commercialise festinavir, which is in Phase II development as a treatment for HIV.

The once-daily, orally available nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) has shown that a likelihood of having an improved safety profile over previous generations of NRTIs.

Under the agreement, Oncolys may receive up to $286m as well as upfront, development, regulatory and sales milestone payments.

In addition, Oncolys is eligible to receive tiered royalties on the basis of worldwide product sales.

Bristol-Myers senior vice-president of development Brian Daniels said the company is committed to the ongoing discovery, development and delivery of medicines to fight HIV and AIDS globally.

“The profile of festinavir offers the possibility of improvement in the safety of long-term HIV treatment, an area of significant unmet medical need,” Daniels added.