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B-MS gets licence to HIV drug in $286 million deal
  US drug major Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) has entered into an agreement with privately-held Japanese biotech firm Oncolys BioPharma to acquire exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture, develop and commercialize festinavir, a once-a-day, orally available nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) in Phase II development for HIV.
Under the terms of the deal, Oncolys may receive up to $286 million including upfront, development, regulatory and sales milestone payments. It is also eligible for tiered royalties on the worldwide product sales.
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"Bristol-Myers Squibb has been dedicated to helping patients prevail over HIV for more than two decades and is committed to the ongoing discovery, development and delivery of medicines to fight HIV/AIDS globally," said Brian Daniels, senior vice president, development, at B-MS, adding: "The profile of festinavir offers the possibility of improvement in the safety of long-term HIV treatment, an area of significant unmet medical need."
Early preclinical studies suggest that festinavir could have an improved safety profile over previous generations of NRTIs. Festinavir was licensed to Oncolys in 2006 by the USA's Yale University.
Yasuo Urata, president and chief executive of Oncolys BioPharma, said, "For many years I have been working for the development of medicines in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and I'm convinced that festinavir has the possibility to be a potent and effective NRTI with a promising resistance profile. Also festinavir's once-daily dosage is essential for treating HIV patients worldwide."
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