REHOVOT, Israel–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ayala Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing targeted cancer therapies, announced today that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for two gamma secretase inhibitors in development for the treatment of cancers with altered Notch genes.
Under the terms of the license agreement, Ayala will have exclusive worldwide development and commercialization rights for BMS-906024 and BMS-986115, two gamma secretase inhibitors previously developed by BMS as a Notch inhibitor for oncology indications. In connection with the license, BMS received an upfront payment, became a shareholder of Ayala, and is eligible to receive certain development, regulatory, and sales-based milestones, as well as tiered annual net sales royalties. Ayala is responsible for all future development and commercialization of BMS-906024 and BMS-986115.
Israel Biotech Fund identified the opportunity, led the due diligence and syndicated with aMoon and Harel Insurance in 2017 to form Ayala. The new company intends to develop BMS-906024 as a precision medicine for niche orphan patient populations harboring Notch activating mutations.
“We believe BMS-906024 is the best in class gamma secretase inhibitor,” said Ayala’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, David Sidransky, MD. “Although most Notch targeted clinical trials have traditionally recruited non-selected populations, our approach is to target patients with specific Notch alterations whose tumors are expected to respond directly to this treatment.” Dr. Sidransky is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Israel Biotech Fund. He was Vice Chairman of ImClone Systems until its acquisition by Eli Lilly and the chairman and board member of several NASDAQ listed biotech companies.
“This is an exciting opportunity in personalized therapy for Oncology, bringing new hope to cancer patients with no approved treatment options,” said Roni Mamluk, PhD, CEO at Ayala. “We plan to initiate phase 2 clinical trials in 2018.” Roni Mamluk, is the former CEO of Chiasma and a member of its board of directors.
“Partnering with Ayala allows for the continued development of BMS-906024 and BMS-986115 and demonstrates our commitment to seeking opportunities that enable the continued development of drug candidates that might benefit certain patients,” said Tim Reilly, Vice President, Head of Early Oncology Development at BMS. “Dr. Sidransky and Ayala are strategically positioned to focus their resources on the targeted development of these candidates for the treatment of cancers with altered Notch genes.”
About Ayala Pharmaceuticals
Ayala Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing targeted cancer therapies for people living with genetically defined cancers. The company was founded in November 2017 with an experienced global management team and a strong investor base.
About Israel Biotech Fund
Israel Biotech Fund is a venture fund focused on at or near clinical-stage biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies with exceptional technologies or product opportunities. The Fund provides its portfolio companies not only with capital, but with executive talent, strategic, operational, and business development resources, enabling them to design and execute clinical development programs efficiently and successfully. The Managing Partners are joined by a group of top-tier biotech industry experts who act as venture advisors of the Fund and its portfolio companies. Additional information about Israel Biotech Fund is available at www.israelbiotechfund.com.
aMoon fund was founded in 2016 by Marius Nacht, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Israeli cyber security giant Check Point Software, and by Dr. Yair Schindel, former CEO of the National Gov’t Bureau “Digital Israel” and former CEO of Startup Nation Central. It is a venture capital firm operating in the Israeli healthcare and life science sector focusing on companies which offer either life-saving solutions or significant cost savings for global healthcare systems. The goal of the fund is to turn Israel into a major contributor in global healthcare and to fuel the development of cutting edge healthcare innovations that will increase the number of individuals leading healthier, longer and more productive lives.
About Harel Insurance
Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. is Israel’s largest insurance and financial group. Harel Group is Israel’s largest and most dominant in the field of health insurance with a market share of 40.2 percent, with more than 80 years of insurance activity and more than 3 million insured parties, who benefit from this professional and advanced service base, with strong close ties with medical institutions hospitals and medical service centers, in Israel and worldwide. Group assets under management, in insurance, pension funds, provident funds, mutual funds and financial services, as of September 30, 2017, totaled over NIS 203.5 billion.
BMS-906024 is a gamma secretase inhibitor developed as a Notch inhibitor for oncology indications. Preclinical studies have shown low nM inhibitory activity for all four Notch receptors (1-4) and robust, broad-spectrum efficacy was seen in traditional and PDX (Patient Derived Xenograft) models, including T-ALL, TNBC, NSCLC, Colorectal and Pancreatic carcinoma. In phase 1b clinical studies, given once a week by intravenous injection, the molecule has shown remarkable PK/PD attributes and was tolerable with manageable side effects in 205 cancer patients.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes forward-looking statements. Because such statements deal with future events, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results could differ materially from Ayala’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are identified by words such as “anticipates,” “projects,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “believes,” “may,” “estimates,” “targets,” “hopes,” and other similar expressions that indicate trends and future events.
Factors that could cause Ayala’s results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements include, without limitation, delays in receiving regulatory guidance for the development of BMS-906024, uncertainties inherent in the initiation of future clinical trials, availability of data from previous clinical trials, satisfactory quantities of clinical drug product, availability of patients who meet the clinical trial enrollment criteria, availability of sufficient funding for foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements, and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of BMS-906024. Ayala undertakes no obligation to revise or update forward-looking statements as a result of new information, since these statements may no longer be accurate or timely.