BIND Therapeutics entered a joint research and development agreement with Merck, through a subsidiary, to discover and develop nanomedicines for oncology. The collaboration will leverage BIND’s nanomedicine technology to create targeted Accurins™ based on novel, potent payloads from Merck’s preclinical oncology portfolio. 

As part of the agreement, BIND will apply its Medicinal Nanoengineering® platform to develop targeted Accurins based initially on Merck-supplied investigational kinesin spindle protein (KSP) and polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitors, regulators of cellular mitosis, which are considered essential to the proliferation of cancer cells. These pathways have proven difficult to target effectively using conventional agents due to therapeutic index limitations, the company said.

The option to incorporate additional Merck compounds in the future is also included in the agreement. BIND will fund and conduct research and development activities to advance Accurin product candidates based on these agents through first-in-human clinical studies, after which Merck and BIND will alternate in choosing whether or not to further develop and commercialize the Accurin products.

If BIND opts in, there will be no payments made to Merck beyond a royalty on future product sales in most scenarios. If Merck opts in, it will pay BIND a fee based on a multiple of BIND’s research and development expenses, plus a royalty on future product sales. 

BIND has ongoing collaborations with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to develop Accurins based on their therapeutic payloads and targeting ligands. Most recently, the company entered into a research agreement with Roche in June to discover nanomedicines for the treatment of diseases in therapeutic areas outside of oncology.