Bicycle Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: BCYC), a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology, has announced that Ionis Pharmaceuticals has exercised its option and entered into an exclusive worldwide licence and collaboration agreement for tissue-targeted delivery of oligonucleotide therapeutics using Bicycles with high affinity to the transferrin receptor (TfR1).
Bicycle Therapeutics enters exclusive $45 million licence and collaboration agreement with Ionis
Ionis had an option for an exclusive licence under the terms of a December 2020 evaluation and option agreement. The agreement granted Ionis the right to evaluate tissue-targeting TfR1 binding Bicycles as vehicles to deliver oligonucleotide therapeutics to specific organ systems and an option to obtain an exclusive licence at the end of the evaluation period.
Bicycle receives a total of $45 million upfront, which includes a licence fee, an option fee, and an $11 million equity investment. Bicycle is also eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and royalties for each programme developed under the collaboration.
“This agreement stems from a highly successful collaboration with Ionis that began earlier in the year, during which Bicycles were shown to selectively deliver oligonucleotide payloads into TfR1-expressing tissue,” said Kevin Lee, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle Therapeutics.
“These data build upon our own work, and that of our partners, which have shown Bicycles targeted to tumour antigens can rapidly and selectively deliver a variety of payloads into solid tumours. This tissue-targeting payload-delivery capability is facilitated by the unique nature of Bicycles that inherently enables the conjugation of a diverse range of molecular cargos without impacting the pharmacology of the target. We believe Bicycles have the potential to become the targeting technology of choice for the development of precision medicines.”
Bicycle has identified binders that it believes to be the first small molecules to target TfR1 with high specificity without modifying TfR1’s natural function. These binders present broad conjugation potential across multiple payloads, thereby resulting in the potential to treat diseases in multiple therapeutic areas, including those of the skeletal and cardiac muscles and of the central nervous system. Bicycle is currently also collaborating with the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) to advance potential TfR1 Bicycles for treating dementia.
Under the terms of the licence and collaboration agreement, Ionis and Bicycle will collaborate to develop a pipeline of oligonucleotide therapeutic product candidates delivered using the tissue-targeting TfR1 Bicycle technology, while Bicycle retains the rights to use TfR1 Bicycles for all non-oligonucleotide therapeutic purposes, including within its existing collaboration with DDF targeting dementia.
About Bicycle Therapeutics
Bicycle Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BCYC) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of medicines, referred to as Bicycles, for diseases that are underserved by existing therapeutics. Bicycles are fully synthetic short peptides constrained with small molecule scaffolds to form two loops that stabilize their structural geometry. This constraint facilitates target binding with high affinity and selectivity, making Bicycles attractive candidates for drug development. Bicycle is evaluating BT5528, a second-generation Bicycle Toxin Conjugate (BTC) targeting EphA2, and BT8009, a second-generation BTC targeting Nectin-4, a well-validated tumor antigen, in company-sponsored Phase I/II trials. In addition, BT1718, a BTC that targets MT1-MMP, is being investigated in an ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial sponsored by the Centre for Drug Development of Cancer Research UK. Bicycle is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with many key functions and members of its leadership team located in Lexington, MA. For more information, visit bicycletherapeutics.com.