Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Acquisitions Bristol-Myers Squibb will acquire small-molecule drug firm Amira

by Lisa M. Jarvis
August 1, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 31

To increase its activities in fibrotic diseases, Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay up to $475 million for the privately held biotech firm Amira Pharmaceuticals. The deal adds several compounds to the BMS pipeline: AM152, poised to enter Phase II trials to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and scleroderma; AM211, in Phase I trials to treat asthma; and an autotaxin inhibitor in preclinical studies to treat pain and cancer metastases.

Investors in San Diego-based Amira snag $325 million in cash up front and could enjoy another $150 million in milestone payments as the company’s lead drug candidates move toward the market.

Amira was founded just six years ago by three former Merck & Co. scientists interested in developing drugs that block three classes of bioactive lipids—leuko­trienes, prostaglandins, and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA)—involved in mediating inflammation. AM152 modulates the LPA1 receptor, which is elevated in people with IPF. No good treatment options exist for IPF, a disease that causes the lungs to become thick and stiff with scarring.

The acquisition marks the latest step in BMS’s “string of pearls” strategy, which the firm unrolled in 2007 as a means of strengthening its pipeline through targeted deals. The firm has completed 11 other similar transactions.

BMS is pursuing small-molecule and biologic drugs equally under the program. Other small-molecule partners or acquisitions include Kai Pharmaceuticals, Kosan Biosciences, Exelixis, Nissan Chemical Industries, and Teijin Pharma. BMS says it plans to keep the Amira scientists on board and working in their San Diego labs.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment