Bind Therapeutics, AstraZeneca Collaborate on Cancer Drug

Xconomy Boston — 

A little less than four months into 2013, and Bind Therapeutics has already struck its third partnership.

Cambridge, MA-based Bind Therapeutics said today it has formed a collaboration with London-based AstraZeneca to co-develop and co-market a cancer drug candidate that uses Bind’s proprietary nanoparticle delivery technology. Bind stands to collect as much as $69 million in a combination of upfront and milestone payments, plus $130 million more if the drug hits certain regulatory and sales goals.

Bind and AstraZeneca aren’t disclosing the name of the drug in question, or the target they are going after, but the drug is a molecularly targeted kinase inhibitor developed and owned by AstraZeneca. That compound will now be plugged into Bind’s nanomedicine system to see if it can be delivered more effectively throughout the body.

This latest deal with AstraZeneca is the third partnership for Bind this year, after it previously formed alliances with New York-based Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Thousand Oaks, CA-based Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN). Bind’s technology is used to make what it calls “Accurins,” which are supposed to help drugs get more efficiently distributed through the body, and better targeted to diseased tissues. Bob Langer, the prolific bioengineering professor at MIT, and Omid Farokhzad, a professor at Harvard Medical School, had a hand in developing Bind’s technology in its early days.

Although Bind has stitched together a prominent network of partners, it isn’t attempting to become just a technology licensing shop, and there are limits to how many partners it has capacity to work with, CEO Scott Minick has said. The company recently changed its name from Bind Biosciences to Bind Therapeutics, partly to reflect its desire to become a drugmaker with its own products someday. The company’s lead drug candidate, BIND-014, attempts to take a potent but toxic chemotherapy—docetaxel—and make it more effective and efficiently absorbed for cancer patients. Some preliminary data from a clinical trial of that drug was presented earlier this month at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting.

AstraZeneca has been active lately on the partnering front, as new CEO Pascal Soriot has made sweeping cuts to internal R&D and started looking elsewhere for innovation. Besides this latest deal with Bind, the company struck a massive agreement with Cambridge, MA-based Moderna Therapeutics and acquired Ann Arbor, MI-based AlphaCore Pharma.