AstraZeneca inks $1bn plus drug development deal with Bicycle Therapeutics

British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc yesterday inked a wide-ranging deal potentially worth over $1 billion with privately-held biotech firm Bicycle Therapeutics to jointly develop a novel class of small molecule medicines for treating respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Bicycle Therapeutics has created a new class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide under the registered Bicycle product platform.

Bicycles, a novel class of small molecule medicines, are designed to overcome many of the limitations of existing drug modalities.  

Under the terms of the agreement, Cambridge, UK-based Bicycle is responsible for identifying Bicycle for an undisclosed number of targets specified by AstraZeneca while AstraZeneca is responsible for further development and product commercialization.

If all planned programmes reach the market, Bicycle will be eligible for over $1 billion in payments, including an upfront payment, future R&D funding, development, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments.

Bicycle would also be entitled to receive royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.

According to Bicycle Therapeutics, bicyclic peptides are "a novel class of small-molecule medicines...designed to overcome many of the limitations of existing drug modalities." The company said the compounds "exhibit the affinity specificity usually associated with antibodies, but in a small-molecule format enabling rapid tissue penetration and flexible routes of administration."

''This is a broad partnership between two entrepreneurial and innovative companies, as illustrated by the collaborative deal structure we have put in place. Bicycle's focus so far has been in oncology and bringing AstraZeneca's expertise in respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic disease to their platform substantially expands its potential,'' said Kumar Srinivasan, VP, Scientific Partnering and Alliances, Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit at AstraZeneca.