Bristol-Myers Squibb announces CVD collaboration

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Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced the launch of a partnership with Isis Pharmaceuticals to discover, develop and market compounds for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The companies will work together on innovative antisense drugs that target proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9) - a substance involved in the regulation of cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb has been granted an exclusive license to the PCSK 9 research programme from Isis, with the latter company receiving a $15 million (7.5 million pound) licensing fee and $9 million of research funding over a three-year period.

Isis will also be eligible for payments of up to $168 million upon the attainment of regulatory, development and other landmarks, in addition to royalty payments on the sales of any pharmaceutical products resulting from the partnership.

Francis Cuss, senior vice-president of discovery and exploratory clinical research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said: "PCSK9 is an attractive, genetically validated target in the field of cardiovascular disease and Isis' antisense technology offers us a strong therapeutic platform for potentially bringing new cardiovascular medicines rapidly to market."

He added that there is at present an unmet need for novel treatment options for patients with high LDL-cholesterol levels at risk of contracting cardiovascular disease.

Last month, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced the signing of a global partnership agreement with Pfizer for the development and marketing of venous and arterial thrombotic disease therapy apixaban.

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