Bind Therapeutics ($BIND) had a turbulent year in 2014, cutting ties with one of its first big partners, Amgen ($AMGN), due to less-than-stellar results in studies of Bind's Accurin nanoparticle technology for cancer. But a few months after losing that $180 million deal, Bind linked up with Merck ($MRK) as the Big Pharma player invested in its own cancer pipeline.
Bind, founded in part by MIT professor and entrepreneur Robert Langer, has also had connections with AstraZeneca ($AZN), Pfizer ($PFE) and Roche ($RHHBY), but it decided to keep the details of this latest collaboration with Merck under wraps. Under the deal, though, Bind boasts access to Merck's kinesin spindle protein inhibitor and a polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor, both designed to cut back metastasis.
|Bind's Robert Langer|
What Bind brings to the table is its nano-sized Accurin platform designed to precisely deliver treatments to a target. This could potentially allow for higher doses of cancer drugs without the safety risk that often comes with that.
At the time, Merck's Eric Rubin, vice president of clinical oncology, said: "Merck is focused on exploring immuno-oncology and other promising pathways, and we look forward to combining compounds from our oncology portfolio with Bind's nanomedicine technology platform."
It will be an uphill battle for Bind as it works to unload any criticism it may have gained from its Phase II trials last year and the loss of confidence from Amgen. But leaders at Bind retain their poise while looking for new ways to use their platform for good.
"What's hard in oncology is you're trying to kill tumor cells that are virtually identical to the tissues around them, so there's a lot of collateral damage," former Bind CEO Scott Minick said in November. Andrew Hirsch is the current CEO. "... Overall, this validates the central premise of the platform, which is trafficking more therapeutic payload to the site of disease with less exposure to healthy tissues. This shows great promise that our platform has the ability to do that in a clinical setting."
-- Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)
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Special Report: The 25 most influential people in biopharma today- 2013 - Robert Langer - MIT