Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has signed an agreement to acquire Amira Pharmaceuticals, a small-molecule company with a focus on treatments for inflammatory and fibrotic diseases for $325 million. The amount will be paid upfront, but there is potential for additional milestone payments up to $150 million. The acquisition represents BMS’s entrance into the fibrotic diseases area, which the company says is an area of high unmet need.
“As part of the continued execution of our focused BioPharma strategy, Bristol-Myers Squibb has identified fibrotic diseases as an area of high unmet medical need that complements our research efforts in several of our therapeutic areas,” Elliott Sigal, vice president, chief scientific officer and president, research and development, at BMS, said in a statement.
According to the statement, BMS will secure Amira Pharmaceuticals’ fibrosis program. This includes the lead asset AM152, an orally available lysophosphatidic acid 1 (LPA1) receptor antagonist that has completed Phase I clinical studies and is now poised for Phase IIa for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and systemic sclerosis or scleroderma. BMS will also obtain Amira Pharmaceuticals’ preclinical autotaxin program, which the company believes may have potential in the treatment of neuropathic pain and cancer metastases. BMS also added that it plans to retain Amira Pharmaceuticals’ scientists who work on both of these programs and that they will remain located in San Diego.
According to Sigal, the acquisition is an example of the company’s “String of Pearls” strategy, whereby the company aims to conduct a series of “highly targeted” transactions designed to bolster BMS’s pipeline.