Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) will partner with Dual Therapeutics to develop small molecule compounds for cancer and other diseases. The collaboration could generate more than $255 million for Dual, the oncology startup said today.

Dual Therapeutics’ small-molecule modulators are designed to simultaneously block multiple cancer-promoting pathways, especially those linked to growth and survival, thus allowing a more comprehensive assault on cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

BMS will obtain exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Dual’s small-molecule compounds. In return, BMS agreed to pay Dual an undisclosed upfront fee and development costs, as well as payments tied to achieving development and regulatory milestones that could total more than $255 million for a successful compound approved in multiple indications.

BMS also agreed to pay Dual royalties on future sales of products discovered through the collaboration.

Oncology is one of BMS’ eight R&D areas of focus, along with immuno-oncology, immunoscience, cardiovascular, fibrotic diseases, genetically defined diseases, metabolics, and virology.

Founded in 2013, Dual is a portfolio company of its lead investor BioMotiv, and focuses on developing new therapeutics for prostate cancer, lung cancer, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. According to its website, Dual’s lead candidate is a first-in-class, orally bioavailable, direct small-molecule activator of a tumor suppressor PP2A, a serine/threonine phosphatase.

Dual was formed to commercialize the research of investigators at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Case Western Reserve University. Those investigators include Goutham Narla, M.D., Ph.D., Harrington distinguished scholar at University Hospitals in Cleveland; and Icahn Mount Sinai investigators Michael Ohlmeyer, Ph.D., and Matthew Galsky, M.D.

Launched in 2012, BioMotiv is the for-profit accelerator of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a $250 million effort focused on commercializing drugs developed by physician scientists. The project is centered at University Hospitals, and also includes the not-for-profit Harrington Discovery Institute.

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