Improving aim against tumors with Accurins
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—In a collaboration aimed at developing a novel and targeted Accurin based on BIND Biosciences' nanomedicine platform and Amgen Inc.'s kinase inhibitor, BIND announced on Jan. 8 a global collaboration agreement with Amgen.  
The goal is to develop and commercialize a kinase inhibitor nanomedicine for treating a range of solid tumors, though the target and kinase inhibitor remain undisclosed to the public. 
According to BIND, "the collaboration aims to create a kinase inhibitor nanomedicine with optimized therapeutic properties, applying for the first time tissue targeting to molecularly targeted drugs."
The companies have not worked together before, though BIND CEO Scott Minick says, "we were both on each other's radar screens: Amgen as a leader in oncology with an in-depth knowledge of nanoparticle technology and BIND as the leader in targeted and programmable nanomedicine."  
Minick explains that Amgen has been working internally on nanoparticle technology for some time and has a very sophisticated understanding of the space, adding, "Our understanding is that the BIND data published in Science Translation Medicine in April 2012 got Amgen's attention based on the performance of BIND's Accurins, both preclinically and clinically. Subsequently, they did an in-depth review of BIND and our Accurin technology and concluded that BIND was their partner of choice."  
Conversely, Minick says, his own company had been working on the combination of its Accurin platform and molecularly targeted agents—kinase inhibitors in particular—over the past year and was aware of Amgen's strong position and promising molecules.   
"As we reviewed their molecule in-depth, we concluded that their kinase inhibitor was very interesting and that Amgen would be an outstanding partner," Minick recalls. "We both completed those reviews late last year and decided that together we could develop a new drug with great promise for cancer patients. The actual deal came together over a few-week period at the end of the year. Amgen's reputation for moving very fast once they make a decision to do something is well-earned, and we are seeing that even more clearly now that we are working together."  
Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen will have the exclusive right to pursue development and commercialization of the Accurin kinase inhibitor against solid tumor targets to be selected by Amgen.   Both companies will work together on preclinical development and Amgen will assume responsibility for future development and commercialization. BIND could receive upfront and development milestone payments totaling $46.5 million, as well as potentially an additional $134 million in regulatory and sales milestone payments for the first therapeutic indication—among other possible payments in the future beyond that roughly $180 million and any tiered royalties on potential future sales.  
"BIND's technology is well aligned with Amgen's focus on the development of highly targeted and selective oncology therapeutics," said Dr. Joseph P. Miletich, senior vice president of research and development at Amgen, in the news release about the deal. "We look forward to collaborating with the BIND scientific team to leverage this technology to address unmet medical needs of cancer patients."    
"The convergence of strong preclinical and clinical data validating BIND's Accurin platform and the performance of molecularly targeted agents, and particularly kinase inhibitors," Minick says, "points the way to the potential clinical benefits of combining these technologies to achieve three levels of selectivity: tissue and cell targeting from the Accurin technology and molecular targeting from the active pharmaceutical ingredient. Amgen showed real vision in going beyond traditional medicinal chemistry to maximize therapeutic benefits using Accurins. Based on a number of discussions we are having with major pharma and biotechnology companies, we are at a tipping point in the emergence of nanomedicine as an important strategic technology for the biopharma industry."  
BIND's Medicinal Nanoengineering platform reportedly enables the design, engineering and manufacturing of Accurins with "unprecedented control over drug properties to maximize trafficking to disease sites, dramatically enhancing efficacy while minimizing toxicities," according to the company, and BIND is developing a pipeline of novel Accurins that hold what BIND feels to be "extraordinary potential to become best-in-class drugs and improve patient outcomes" in the areas of oncology, inflammatory diseases and cardiovascular disorders.  
BIND's lead product candidate, BIND-014, is currently in Phase I clinical testing in cancer patients and is designed to selectively target a surface protein upregulated in a broad range of solid tumors. BIND also develops Accurins in collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners to enable promising pipeline candidates to achieve their full potential and to utilize selective targeting to transform the performance of important existing drug products.  

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