Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) have entered into a global research collaboration to develop novel small molecule antifibrotic therapies. The firms also inked an exclusive license agreement that allows BMS to develop, manufacture, and commercialize Calibr’s preclinical compounds resulting from the collaboration.

As part of the deal, Calibr is offering BMS its expertise in identifying and optimizing small molecules with antifibrotic activity through its high-throughput screening, target identification, and preclinical drug discovery infrastructure.

BMS has been committed to addressing fibrotic diseases in its pipeline since acquiring Amira Pharmaceuticals in July 2011.

Among the assets in the biopharma’s fibrosis portfolio are BMS-986020, a lysophosphatidic acid 1 (LPA1) receptor antagonist in Phase II development for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and a CCR2/5 dual antagonist in Phase II development for diabetic kidney disease.

Additionally, two months ago, BMS signed an exclusive option to acquire Galecto Biotech and gain worldwide rights to its lead asset TD139, a Phase I inhaled inhibitor of galectin-3 being developed to treat IPF and other pulmonary fibrotic conditions. The deal was valued at up to $444 million.

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