Nanomedicine: The next (not-so-) big thing
NEW YORK—BIND Therapeutics and Pfizer Inc. have announced a global collaboration to develop and commercialize multiple Accurins related to an undisclosed target.
Accurins are BIND's proprietary nanoparticle-based therapeutics, which can be programmed in such a way that they are delivered to and accumulate in targeted diseased tissues and cells, resulting in high concentrations of API at the site of action while minimizing exposure to non-targeted tissue. Accurins are selectively targeted to specific diseased cells and tissues using ligand molecules that coat the particle surface. The Accurin particle is programmed to evade the immune system, travel to the intended site and release an encapsulated drug, resulting in higher drug concentrations delivered in a controlled and targeted manner that improves both safety and efficacy, according to BIND.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will give BIND the desired molecules to target, and both companies will work together on preclinical research. BIND will optimize Accurins to deliver compounds to the intended target. Once these Accurins have been developed and optimized, and an initial screening has been completed, Pfizer will have the exclusive option to select those that it wishes to advance into clinical trials. Pfizer will have responsibility for development and commercialization of any Accurins for which it elects to exercise this option.
For each Accurin commercialized, BIND could receive upfront and development milestone payments totaling approximately $50 million, approximately $160 million in regulatory and sales milestone payments for each Accurin commercialized, plus tiered royalties on potential future sales.
"Pfizer has a strong legacy in targeted small-molecule drug discovery and development and continues to be on the cutting edge of innovation in this area," Rod MacKenzie, senior vice president and head of PharmaTherapeutics R&D at Pfizer, said in a media release announcing the collaboration. "We look forward to working with the team at BIND to create targeted Accurins with the aim of optimizing the therapeutic potential of future small molecules."
Although the target of interest to Pfizer in this collaboration was not disclosed, BIND's two other recently announced high-profile partners developing therapeutics based upon Accurins—Amgen and AstraZeneca—have signaled their intention to use the technology to focus on oncology targets.
"Cancer is a clear place to go with our technology because it allows you to concentrate the highly toxic molecules [used to treat cancer] locally and to avoid toxicity globally," says Scott Minick, CEO of BIND.
Broadly, Accurins are capable of going into two types of spaces today. The first is wherever an Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) effect occurs, where localized gaps in blood vessels can allow particles to escape. This effect occurs in disease areas such as cancer and other tumors, and hematological malignancies. The second area is anything inside the blood compartment, because Accurins can target cells inside the blood vessels or the blood vessels themselves. This has potential applications in cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.
Although they have not been used this way to date, in principle Accurins should be useful in applications where the nanoparticles could be used as a transport mechanism, such as the traditionally difficult-to-cross blood/brain barrier.
In addition to the Accurins it's developing with its partners, BIND also is developing its own pipeline in the areas of oncology, inflammatory disease and cardiovascular disease. Its lead product candidate is BIND-014, which is designed to target a surface protein upregulated in multiple types of solid tumor. BIND-014 is currently in Phase I clinical testing in cancer patients.
The three collaboration deals with major pharmaceutical companies that BIND has announced in 2013 carry with them a total economic value of about $1 billion.
"It speaks to the fact that nanomedicine has reached an inflection point in the pharmaceutical industry," says Minick. "It's gone from a neat-sounding future technology to something that's here, now."