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$45m upfront fee for Bicycle Therapeutics under deal with Ionis Pharmaceuticals

Bicycle Therapeutics will receive an upfront payment of $45million from Ionis Pharmaceuticals under an exclusive licence and collaboration agreement.

The Babraham Research Campus company will develop tissue-targeted oligonucleotide therapeutics using its proprietary bicyclic peptide - or Bicycle - technology.

Kevin Lee, CEO of Bicycle Therapeutics
Kevin Lee, CEO of Bicycle Therapeutics

California-based Ionis exercised its option under the terms of a December 2020 agreement.

The $45m includes a licence fee, an option fee, and an $11m equity investment.

Bicycle Therapeutics is also eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and royalties for each programme developed under the collaboration.

CEO Dr Kevin Lee said: “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.

Bicycle Therapeutics at Babraham Research Campus. (47175816)
Bicycle Therapeutics at Babraham Research Campus. (47175816)

“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.”

Sir Gregory Winter at Bicycle Therapeutics
Sir Gregory Winter at Bicycle Therapeutics

The company says the binder it has identified are the first small molecules to target TfR1 with high specificity without modifying TfR1’s natural function.

They could be applied in multiple therapeutic areas, including diseases of the skeletal and cardiac muscles and of the central nervous system.

Bicycle technology
Bicycle technology

The company is currently also collaborating with the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) to advance potential TfR1 Bicycles for treating dementia.

Bicycle will retain the rights to use TfR1 Bicycles for all non-oligonucleotide therapeutic purposes, such as in its DDF collaboration.

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