Company has not been affected by the economic crisis, according to svp of business development.

While many are rapidly changing business models to keep up with the dynamic financial landscape, Martin Wiles, Ph.D., svp of business development at BioInvent, says that the firm has not had to shake things up too much. The company’s discovery business continues to attract partners, and its strategy of both in-licensing and out-licensing at various stages of development hasn’t changed.

“The discovery side is very buoyant,” says Dr. Wiles. The fact that the n-CoDeR™ technology provides more diversity per target, according to Dr. Wiles, has made BioInvent a viable discovery-stage ally. Its capabilities in process development and manufacturing also help attract discovery deals with firms that are new to biologics and who thus may be looking to find longer-term relationships.

Revenues earned through these collaborations feed into the companies’ development activities. The firm has begun Phase II trials with TB-402 in thrombosis with partner ThromboGenics. It is being designed as a multidose treatment since it has a long half-life, says Dr. Wiles. Since the drug doesn’t completely shut down anticoagulation, he believes that it will have fewer side effects and better compliance.

The firm also recently reported positive Phase I results with BI-204 in atherosclerosis. The drug is being developed with Genentech. Additionally, TB-403, being developed with ThromboGenics and Roche, is in Phase I, and internally discovered anticancer agent BI-505 is in preclinical research.

BioInvent decides when to partner based firstly on the program’s needs and then on the return the company can get from collaborating. This philosophy remains intact, says Dr. Wiles, even now when alliances may be tough to come by. He explains that if a compound is expected to show good results in Phase II trials, he is more likely to wait for that data, even if risky, so as to improve the program’s value in a partnership. On the other hand, if the program calls for large trials and infrastructure that the firm doesn’t have, out-licensing certainly becomes the main goal. He says that playing hard-to-get and designing trials based on a firm’s capabilities only jeopardizes the long-term value of that drug as well as the company’s future.

It was this reasoning that led BioInvent and ThromboGenics to sign Roche on as a partner in June 2008 to help take TB-403 into the clinic. Considering that deal came with $50 million up front and the firm has already achieved a $6.5 million milestone, Dr. Wiles feels quite fortunate and confident in spite of the current economic turmoil.

And yes, Dr. Wiles says that BioInvent is looking to grow its pipeline. Of course, the major interest is in oncology and inflammation, since that’s where its expertise lies. Yet he notes that they would not turn down a deal in a different indication under the right circumstances.

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