Bioverativ, Bicycle Therapeutics Partner to Develop Sickle Cell Disease Therapeutics

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Bioverativ Bicycle

Two pharmaceutical companies, Bioverativ and Bicycle Therapeutics, have agreed to jointly discover, develop and market novel therapies for sickle cell disease (SCD) and hemophilia.

The $10 million accord seeks to identify and develop therapeutic molecules based on Bicycle’s bicyclic peptide product platform to treat rare blood disorders. This new modality combines attributes of antibodies, small molecules and peptides within a single molecules.

These “bicycle” molecules exhibit the specificity usually associated with antibodies, and their small size enables rapid and deep tissue penetration, allowing tissues and tumors to be targeted from within. Moreover, researchers can tune these molecules’ time in circulation as well as time of absorption of the body. Its renal route of clearance avoids liver and gastrointestinal tract toxicity often associated with other treatments.

“This collaboration offers a unique opportunity to identify an entirely new therapeutic modality that may lead to meaningful new treatments and outcomes for people living with hemophilia and sickle cell disease,” Tim Harris, PhD, DSc, executive vice president of research and development at Bioverativ, said in a press release.

Bicycle Therapeutics, a British company, will head up initial discovery and optimization of candidates for two clinical programs. Bioverativ, which is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, will lead preclinical and clinical development, as well as subsequent marketing and commercialization of viable candidates. Bicycle will receive a reimbursement for all internal and external program-related costs.

“We believe our ‘Bicycle’ platform has extremely broad therapeutic potential,” said Bicycle CEO Kevin Lee. “Combining Bioverativ’s deep expertise in hematology with our powerful platform offers great promise for the development of novel, targeted therapies for patients. This alliance provides the latest validation of our ‘Bicycle’ platform and furthers our strategy to evaluate its potential in a wide range of new disease areas.”

SCD is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells; hemophilia is a bleeding disorder that leads to poor clotting and continuous bleeding. In SCD, blood doesn’t reach all necessary parts of the body due to sickle-shaped cells, which block small blood vessels, eventually damaging tissue. In hemophilia, joints and muscles bleed internally, which causes a decrease in range of motion, strength and function.