Bristol Myers Squibb Acquires RayzeBio in a Strategic Move to Expand Radiopharmaceutical Capabilities

by Andrii Buvailo, PhD          News

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In a significant development in the pharmaceutical industry, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has announced the acquisition of RayzeBio, a company specializing in radiopharmaceuticals. This acquisition, valued at $4.1 billion, is a strategic move by BMS to strengthen its position in the rapidly growing field of radiopharmaceuticals, competing directly with industry leaders like Novartis and potentially Eli Lilly.

BMS's acquisition offer for RayzeBio stands at $62.50 per share, a notable increase over RayzeBio's initial public offering (IPO) price of $18 in September. This price reflects more than a threefold increase and demonstrates the high value BMS places on RayzeBio's expertise and potential in the radiopharmaceutical field. The acquisition follows BMS’s recent purchase of Karuna Therapeutics and represents a significant investment in innovative therapeutic modalities.

 

Innovative Technology and Pipeline

RayzeBio’s platform is centered around an alpha-emitting isotope, actinium-225, differing from Novartis’ beta-emitting lutetium-based therapies. This platform is viewed by BMS as a key component in developing new treatments for solid tumors by delivering radioactive payloads in a targeted manner. Samit Hirawat, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Drug Development at BMS, emphasized the potential of RayzeBio's platform to generate multiple therapeutic candidates in the future.

The leading asset of RayzeBio, RYZ101, is currently in phase 3 trials, targeting proteins over-expressed in certain neuroendocrine tumors and lung cancer. Preliminary results suggest promising efficacy and tolerability. Additionally, RayzeBio is developing other assets, including RYZ801 for hepatocellular carcinoma and a renal cell cancer-targeting asset.

A notable aspect of RayzeBio’s value is its near-completion of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Indianapolis, poised to begin GMP drug production in the first half of 2024. This in-house manufacturing capability was a key factor in BMS’s acquisition decision, as noted by analysts at William Blair.

 

A growing niche of radiopharmaceuticals

The acquisition is seen as a validation of the potential of actinium-225 and highlights the premium value ascribed to radiopharmaceutical companies with manufacturing ownership. BMS's proactive approach to expanding its portfolio, especially in new therapeutic areas, marks a strategic effort to offset potential upcoming losses in other sectors.

The radiopharmaceutical sector has witnessed significant growth in 2023, with a 550% increase in venture capital deals compared to 2017. BMS’s acquisition of RayzeBio places it at the forefront of this expanding field, following earlier industry movements such as Eli Lilly's acquisition attempt of Point Biopharma Global.

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