Bicycle Therapeutics, a Cambridge, UK-based biotech, developing proprietary bicyclic peptides has attracted the attention of Roche subsidiary, Genentech. The two companies agreed a collaboration agreement, with Bicycle receiving $30m (€27.4m) in an upfront fee and eligible for a further $1.7bn (€1.55bn) dependent upon milestones met.
The focus will be on the development of small molecules aimed at immuno-oncology (IO) targets. A spokesperson for Bicycle told us that this will allow the company to expand its footprint in the IO space.
When asked in particular what targets would be worked on, the spokesperson only confirmed that they are ‘well-known’ targets that Genentech believes are “particularly well-suited to Bicycle technology.”
Bicyclic peptides are synthetic short peptides constrained to form two loops. According to the company, they combine the pharmacology of a biologic with the pharmacokinetic properties of a small molecule.
In terms of what advantages this may confer, the spokesperson explained that “biologic approaches such as antibodies may be too large to fit in the immune synapse but small molecules may not be specific enough to create desired on-target effects.”
None of Bicycle’s current oncology pipeline will be involved in the deal.
The biotech will use the $30m upfront payment to invest in its pipeline, with the capital “yielding multiple shots on goal for [its] current clinical-stage assets,” as well as expanding the breadth of its pipeline, we were told.
The long-term goal is to become a “top tier, end-to-end biopharma company” and Bicycle believes its partnership with a pharma company of Roche’s scale will help it achieve this.