Bavarian Nordic shares leap on $1 billion Bristol-Myers deal

Wed Mar 4, 2015 8:27am EST
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By Sabina Zawadzki

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Bavarian Nordic BAVA.CO has struck a prostate cancer drug deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY.N: Quote) that could be worth $1 billion should its trials, part of a new field in cancer treatment, be successful.

Shares in the Danish company soared and by 0950 GMT (0450 ET) they were trading at 282 Danish crowns ($42), up 33 percent. The jump added over $260 million to its market value of $880 million.

The agreement gives the U.S. company an exclusive option to license Bavarian's Prostvac drug, an immunotherapy treatment that helps the body's own immune cells fight tumors.

Immunotherapy for cancer is a rapidly evolving field which promises better and longer-lasting treatments, although oncology experts warn financial costs are high.

Under the deal, Bavarian Nordic stands to receive up to $975 million, including $60 million it will get upfront, if it passes trials and sales milestones, and could also receive royalties.

Prostvac is currently undergoing Phase III trials -- the last set of tests before it can be sold on global markets.

"A significant Phase II survival benefit suggests Prostvac immunotherapy has the potential to revolutionize prostate cancer treatment," analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

Last week Bavarian said results from a small early-stage trial conducted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, showed Prostvac helped extend survival in patients with advanced prostate cancer significantly.   Continued...