Bristol-Myers Squibb has taken another step towards building a franchise in insulin therapy to complement its existing oral anti-diabetic (OAD) drug range.
The company has signed an agreement with QDose, a joint venture between MicroDose Technologies and Quadrant Drug Delivery of the UK, for an inhaled insulin product. At the end of last month, BMS bought rights to an oral version of insulin developed by France's Flamel Technologies.
Under the terms of the latest agreement, BMS gains worldwide exclusive rights to the inhaled insulin and will take the lead on development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the licensed product.
QDose's technology relies on the combination of a novel dry powder inhaler (DPI) developed by MicroDose and drug particle engineering expertise from Quadrant.
According to the terms of the license agreement, BMS will pay a $1 million (€887,000) upfront payment to QDose and will pay an additional $29 million in milestone payments based on the achievement of certain development and regulatory events, as well as royalties on any eventual sales.
Peter Dolan, chairman and CEO of BMS, said in a statement that the inhaled insulin product "may offer patients an alternative route of administration that either complements or replaces insulin injections."
BMS has an established franchise in diabetes, with oral antidiabetic drugs including Glucophage XR (metformin), Glucovance (glyburide/metformin) and Metaglip (glipizide/metformin), but this has come under pressure of late with the expiry of US patent protection on metformin.