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Bioventus Buys BMP Portfolio from Pfizer

Bioventus LLC has inked a deal for the exclusive worldwide license to Pfizer Inc.’s bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) portfolio of development programs and associated intellectual property.

The portfolio includes a next-generation BMP in development designed to offer additional options to currently marketed BMP products and the rights to recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2, a controversial synthetic bone growth factor often used as a bone graft substitute) in indications and fields previously reserved to Pfizer, according to a recent announcement from Bioventus, which also acquired an exclusive option to a BMP program for soft tissue indications.

Pfizer has agreed to transfer to Bioventus all existing development work for the BMP assets and to undertake certain early development activities relating to the next-generation BMP. Pfizer also will manufacture rhBMP-2 and supply it to Bioventus. Though financial details were not disclosed, under the terms of the license agreement, Pfizer received an upfront payment and will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on any sales.

To lead the BMP programs, Bioventus has hired BMP scientists Dr. John Wozney and Dr. Howard Seeherman. Durham, N.C.-based Bioventus is opening a research laboratory in Boston, Mass., to pursue development and commercialization of its BMP assets.

Martin Sutter, founding partner and managing director of Essex Woodlands the lead investor in Bioventus, said: “This licensing agreement demonstrates the viability of the investment thesis underlying our participation in Bioventus. Developing the next-generation BMP will enable Bioventus to become a recognized leader in orthobiologics.”

“As Pfizer continues to prioritize and actively manage our dynamic pipeline we have looked for strong partners who are best suited to advance programs outside our core focus areas” said Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, Ph.D. group senior vice president and head of Biotherapeutics R&D at Pfizer. “Given Bioventus’ expertise and commitment to orthopedic healing we believe it is well positioned to advance important new options to orthopedic patients.”

“This transaction strengthens our vision of Bioventus being a recognized global leader in active orthopedic healing. BMPs are a class of demonstrably potent biologics that will benefit from Bioventus' commitment to developing clinically efficacious technologies in partnership with world-class physicians and the appropriate regulatory agencies. The BMP programs will expand and complement Bioventus’ ongoing development in bone stimulation and injectable hyaluronic acid therapies,” said Mark Augusti CEO of Bioventus.

Bioventus was formed in May 2012—formerly the Biologics and Clinical Therapies division of Smith & Nephew. The company had roughly $240 million in revenue last year and employs approximately 500 people. Investment firm Essex Woodlands owns 51 percent of Bioventus, while Smith & Nephew still owns 49 percent.

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