Cancer Research UK to fund exploratory development of BT7401 through a Phase IIa clinical study
LONDON, CAMBRIDGE, England & BOSTON, January 7, 2020 – Bicycle Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: BCYC), a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology, today announced a second collaboration with Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent funder of cancer research, in which Cancer Research UK will fund and sponsor development of BT7401, a multivalent Bicycle® CD137 agonist, through a Phase IIa clinical study.
“The modular nature of the Bicycle platform enables a number of opportunities to generate new therapeutics that could address unmet need in oncology and other serious diseases,” said Kevin Lee, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle. “This new collaboration marks yet another initiative designed to help us bring a potentially important Bicycle-based therapy to patients more efficiently. We are excited to extend our relationship with Cancer Research UK by collaborating with them on BT7401. Cancer Research UK is a partner of choice, with a broad network of collaborators and extensive expertise in cancer treatment. Through our collaboration, we believe we will be able to characterize the biologic and therapeutic profile of BT7401, which we’re pleased to add to our growing portfolio of novel immuno-oncology assets.”
Dr. Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK's director of drug development, said: "We’re delighted to be partnering again with Bicycle, building on our continuing relationship. Based on the preclinical data, we believe that BT7401 could offer improved anti-tumor activity with fewer side effects compared with other antibody-based approaches, which so far have been limited by toxicity.”
Dr. Blackburn continued: “Looking to the future, we believe BT7401 has the potential to open up new treatment options for the large numbers of patients who stop responding to checkpoint inhibitors, and we look forward to working with Bicycle in this new endeavor.”
BT7401 is a chemically synthesized, multivalent small molecule agonist of CD137, comprised of Bicycles connected by stable linkers through a central hinge. Though prior programs using antibodies to agonize CD137 have demonstrated robust and durable anti-tumor effects, they have been limited by severe hepatotoxicity observed in clinical trials. Preliminary toxicology studies suggest BT7401 may circumvent this limitation. In addition, BT7401 has shown significant pharmacologic activity in preclinical models. These findings indicate that BT7401 may offer an improved therapeutic index compared to that of antibody-based approaches.
Under the terms of the Clinical Development Partnerships agreement, Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will fund and sponsor development of BT7401 from current preclinical studies through the completion of a Phase IIa trial. Bicycle retains the right to advance the BT7401 program further, at which point an undisclosed payment split between cash and equity, success-based milestones and royalty payments would be made to Cancer Research UK.