Published: Nov. 17, 2020 By
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Global biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb has acquired MyoKardia Inc. in an all-cash transaction for approximately $13.1 billion.

MyoKardia Inc., a biomedical company founded in 2013, develops small molecule therapeutics that address key clinical needs for patients with genetic heart disease. The genetic heart diseases targeted by MyoKardia are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy, which afflict roughly 1 million people in the United States. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy produces thickening of the heart walls and is best known as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Dilated cardiomyopathy produces weakening of the heart walls and enlargement of the heart chambers. Cardiomyopathy can occur at any age, and more than 30,000 children, from newborns to 18-year-olds, suffer from some form of cardiomyopathy in the United States -- a patient population comparable to the number of people living with cystic fibrosis. 

CU-Boulder Professor and BioFrontiers Institute Chief Scientific Officer Leslie Leinwand is one of four MyoKardia founders who are all world leaders in the fields of muscle biology and cardiovascular genetics. In addition to Leinwand, the company’s co-founders include Professor James Spudich of Stanford University’s Department of Biochemistry, Dr. Christine Seidman of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Professor Jonathan Seidman of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics. Leinwand and Spudich have seven decades of collective experience working with the protein in cells responsible for muscle contraction, known as myosin. Jonathan and Christine Seidman are a husband-and-wife team renowned for discovering the genetic basis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Before MyoKardia, no new therapeutics to treat genetic heart diseases had been brought to market in well over a decade. MyoKardia’s proprietary drug discovery platform brings together advances from the fields of cardiovascular genomics and heart muscle biology which enables its scientists to target certain heart diseases at the genetic level. This genetically targeted approach revolutionized the treatment of cardiomyopathies, and ultimately a broader spectrum of cardiovascular disease, including heart failure.

Through the transaction with MyoKardia, Bristol Myers Squibb gains mavacamten, a potential first-in-class cardiovascular medicine for the treatment of obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (“HCM”), a chronic heart disease with high morbidity and patient impact. A New Drug Application (“NDA”) for mavacamten for the treatment of symptomatic obstructive HCM – based on data from the EXPLORER-HCM study – is expected to be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first quarter of 2021. Bristol Myers Squibb expects to explore the full potential of mavacamten in additional indications, including non-obstructive HCM, as well as develop MyoKardia’s promising pipeline of novel compounds, including two clinical-stage therapeutics: danicamtiv (formerly MYK-491) and MYK-224, and two pre-clinical assets: ACT-1 and LUS-1.

“We are excited to welcome MyoKardia colleagues to Bristol Myers Squibb. The MyoKardia team has revolutionized cardiovascular treatments to address significant unmet medical needs, and we look forward to helping more patients together,” said Giovanni Caforio, M.D., Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Bristol Myers Squibb. “With MyoKardia, we are bolstering our leading cardiovascular franchise and adding exceptional scientific capabilities, a potentially transformative new medicine with significant commercial potential and a promising pipeline of candidates. Cardiovascular remains an important therapeutic area for Bristol Myers Squibb with a strong legacy and a promising future.”