Texas-based Molecular Templates (MTEM) and Bristol Myers Squibb forged a strategic research collaboration worth a potential $1.3 billion to discover and develop multiple oncology therapies using a next-generation engineered toxin body (ETB) platform.
The ETB technology platform was developed by Molecular Templates. ETBs represent a new class of targeted therapeutics that act through differentiated mechanisms of actions including the ability to force receptor internalization, deliver therapeutic payloads, and directly kill targeted cells through the enzymatic inactivation of ribosomes, the company said.
Both BMS and Molecular Templates hope they will be able to discover new molecules with the ETB platform. According to MTEM, ETBs use a genetically engineered form of Shiga-like Toxin A subunit, or SLTA, a ribosome inactivating bacterial protein, that can be targeted to specifically destroy cancer cells.
Under terms of the agreement, Molecular Template will undertake research responsibilities for the discovery of next-generation ETBs for multiple targets. BMS has already selected a target, but that was not disclosed by the companies in the announcement. If the ETBs are promising, BMS will have the option to develop and commercialize the assets.
BMS will make an up-front payment of $70 million to MTEM. As the project moves forward, and other targets are selected, Molecular Templates could receive up to $1.3 billion in milestone payments. The company would also receive tiered royalty payments on future sales.