Refining the aim in the hunt for tumor cells
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—In a deal potentially worth some $200 million to BIND Therapeutics and marking its third major deal with Big Pharma since the start of 2013, BIND announced April 22 that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with London-based AstraZeneca. Through this collaboration, the two companies plan to develop and commercialize an Accurin—a targeted and programmable cancer nanomedicine from BIND's Medicinal Nanoengineering platform—based on a molecularly targeted kinase inhibitor developed and owned by AstraZeneca.  
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will work together to complete Investigational New Drug-enabling studies of the lead Accurin identified from a previously- completed feasibility program. AstraZeneca will then have the exclusive right to lead development and commercialization, while BIND will lead manufacturing during the development phase.  
BIND could receive upfront and pre-approval milestone payments totaling $69 million, plus more than $130 million in regulatory and sales milestones and other payments—not to mention tiered single- to double-digit royalties on future sales.  
Added to BIND's January deal with Amgen and March deal with Pfizer, a company spokesperson notes that this is the third global partnership in four months with Big Pharma seeking access to BIND 's nanomedicine technology to develop highly selective and targeted drugs, and "marks nearly $1 billion in total deal value to BIND and a 'tipping point' for nanomedicines."  
"One year ago, BIND started several feasibility projects with major pharmaceutical companies," noted Scott Minick, president and CEO of BIND. "Our collaboration with AstraZeneca is the first one completed and had very successful results. Due to the advanced nature of this program, we now plan to move an Accurin with optimized therapeutic properties quickly into product development."  
This collaboration and the others, BIND has noted, is based on emerging data suggesting that nanomedicines such as Accurins "selectively accumulate in diseased tissues and cells, leading to higher drug concentrations at the site of the tumor and reduced exposure to healthy tissues."  
In addition to developing Accurins in collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners, BIND is developing a pipeline of novel Accurins that it believes hold "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 entering Phase II clinical testing in cancer patients and is designed to selectively target PSMA, a surface protein upregulated in a broad range of solid tumors.  
"AstraZeneca believes that targeted therapies which specifically address the underlying mechanisms of disease are the future of personalized cancer treatment," said Susan Galbraith, head of AstraZeneca's Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit. "Our oncology teams are actively exploring a range of platforms to deliver targeted therapies, with a strategic focus on unlocking the significant potential of nanoparticles as an approach to cancer treatment. We view BIND's targeted nanomedicines as a leading technology in this field."

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