Bristol-Myers to invest in Compugen, collaborate in clinical trials

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TEL AVIV, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Israel's Compugen said on Thursday they will collaborate in clinical trials for patients with advanced solid tumours.

The trials will evaluate the safety and tolerability of Compugen’s COM701, an investigational antibody, in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immune checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo.

In conjunction with the collaboration, Bristol-Myers Squibb will invest $12 million in Compugen, purchasing 2,424,243 shares - equal to a 4.1 percent stake - at $4.95 each. The investment represents a 33 percent premium over the average closing price on the last 20 trading days and is expected to close on or about Oct. 12.

Compugen will sponsor an ongoing two-part early stage trial, which includes evaluating the combination of COM701 and Opdivo in four tumour types, including non-small cell lung, ovarian, breast and endometrial cancer. The collaboration is also designed to address potential future combinations.

Opdivo, approved in over 60 countries, is designed to harness the body’s immune system to help restore anti-tumour immune response. (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)