BIND Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based clinical-stage nanomedicine platform company developing targeted and programmable therapeutics called Accurins, has signed an R&D agreement with Merck, through a subsidiary, to discover and develop novel nanomedicines for oncology. This collaboration will leverage BIND's proprietary nanomedicine technology to create targeted Accurins based on novel, potent payloads from Merck's preclinical oncology portfolio.
The first two Merck compounds include a kinesin spindle protein (KSP) inhibitor and a polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitor. Both KSP and PLK1 are regulators of cellular mitosis and are considered essential to the proliferation of cancer cells. These pathways have proven difficult to target effectively using conventional agents due to therapeutic index limitations.
"This is an exciting and unique collaboration for BIND as it provides us with novel proprietary payloads to develop as Accurin product candidates for our internal pipeline," said Scott Minick, CEO of BIND Therapeutics. "The structure of this agreement marks an advancement in our collaboration approach and demonstrates the strength of our leadership position in the field of nanomedicine."
BIND will apply its Medicinal Nanoengineering platform to develop targeted Accurins based initially on Merck-supplied investigational KSP and PLK1 inhibitors. The agreement also includes the option to incorporate additional Merck compounds in the future. BIND will fund and conduct R&D activities to advance Accurin product candidates based on these agents through first-in-human clinical studies, after which Merck and BIND will alternate in choosing whether or not to further develop and commercialize the Accurin products.
If BIND opts in, in most scenarios there will be no payments made to Merck beyond a royalty on future product sales. If Merck opts in, it will pay BIND a fee based on a multiple of BIND's research and development expenses, plus a royalty on future product sales. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.