A Tale of Love for UniQure and Bristol-Myers Squibb

In May, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) nailed down the exclusive access to uniQure’s gene therapy platform to treat cardiovascular diseases. Everything seems to work out fine as BMS paid $53M (€47M) for three new targets and additional shares to own nearly 10% of the company.

UniQure is a Dutch pioneer in the field of gene therapy. It has the first and only approved gene therapy on the European market, which has a stiff price of €1.1M. Its unique technology platform makes it a promising partner for pharma companies. One month after it joined forces with Edinburg-based Synpromics to develop a delivery system that gets the replacing DNA to the liver, BMS snared uniQure’s gene therapy technology for cardiovascular diseases.

The strategic collaboration included uniQure’s gene technology platform for congestive heart failure that is designed to restore the heart’s ability to synthesize a calcium sensor. The master regulator of heart function is crucial for the adjustment of the heart’s ejection performance. Beyond that, BMS had left the door open for up to ten target-exclusive collaborations in other disease areas. 4 of them are nominated until now, including the three it purchased today for $15M in cash.

The deal bolsters uniQure in a big way. Until now, BMS has made total payments of $140M (€125M) and $471M (€421M) could be on its way if everything works out well. Additional to the milestone payments, BMS bought $38M (€34M) of new shares to increase its shareholding to 9.9%. All in all, the partnership between BMS and uniQure resembles to a lovestory. When will be the marriage-aquisition?

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