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Bristol Myers to Buy Forbius to Boost Immunotherapy Pipeline

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Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY - Free Report) announced a definitive agreement with privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Forbius, for TGF-beta assets.

Per this agreement, Bristol Myers will acquire Forbius and add a portfolio of highly selective and potent inhibitors of TGF-beta 1 & 3 that have shown potential across a broad range of therapeutic areas. The deal includes an upfront payment and future success-based milestone payments, likely to be paid to Forbius’ existing shareholders.

Bristol Myers will add Forbius’ lead pipeline candidate, AVID200, under Forbius’s TGF-beta program, which has potential to treat cancer and fibrotic diseases. Initially, Bristol Myers plans to focus research and development efforts of AVID200 in oncology. The company may consider advancing the asset in other disease areas such as fibrosis.

Please note that Forbius has completed early-stage studies on AVID200 evaluating it in one fibrotic indication as well as in solid tumors.

A new private company will be formed and Forbius’ non-TGF-beta assets will be transferred to that entity, prior to the closing of the deal. This new private company will be retained by Forbius’ existing shareholders. The deal is expected to be closed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The press release states that selective inhibition of TGF-beta 1 & 3 is proposed to enhance anti-tumor efficacy by acting synergistically with immunotherapy. Bristol Myers may evaluate Forbius’ TGF-beta assets in combination with its immunotherapies, which include Opdivo, for improved efficacy of its immunotherapies. TGF-beta assets also have broad potential as an anti-fibrotic therapy across several indications with high unmet need.

Bristol Myers shares have lost 2.8% in the year so far against the industry's growth of 1.4%.

The company is looking to boost its oncology pipeline through acquisitions. Earlier this month, the company entered into another definitive agreement with clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Dragonfly Therapeutics. This deal will grant Bristol Myers global exclusive license to Dragonfly’s interleukin-12 (IL-12) investigational immunotherapy program, including its extended half-life cytokine, DF6002.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Bristol Myers currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks from the biotech sector include Emergent Biosolutions Inc. (EBS - Free Report) , Horizon Therapeutics (HZNP - Free Report) and QIAGEN N.V. (QGEN - Free Report) , all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Emergent Biosolutions’ earnings per share estimates have moved up from $3.58 to $5.60 for 2020 in the past 30 days. The company delivered an earnings surprise of 127.41%, on average, in the last four quarters. The stock has risen 132.7% so far this year.

Horizon Therapeutics’ earnings per share estimates have increased from $1.89 to $2.86 for 2020 in the past 30 days. The company delivered an earnings surprise of 38.63%, on average, in the last four quarters. The stock has surged 102.5% so far this year.

QIAGEN’s earnings per share estimates have moved up from $1.88 to $2.07 for 2020 in the past 30 days. The company delivered an earnings surprise of 2.27%, on average, in the last four quarters. The stock has risen 52.7% so far this year.

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