Bristol-Myers Squibb has struck a multi-million-dollar deal with Dutch group uniQure to develop gene therapies for cardiovascular diseases, and potentially other illnesses.

The agreement provides B-MS with exclusive access to uniQure’s gene therapy technology platform for up to 10 different targets, including S100A1, a calcium sensor and master regulator of heart function, synthesis of which could treat congestive heart failure.

The firms have agreed that uniQure will lead discovery efforts and take responsibility for manufacturing clinical and commercial supplies, while B-MS will head up development and regulatory activities bearing all R&D costs, and is also solely responsible for commercialisation of any successful therapies.

On the financial side, B-MS will make near-term payments of around $100 million to uniQure, and is also buying an initial 4.9% stake in the firm for at least $32 million in total. Further down the line, the US drugs giant will acquire an extra 5% before the end of 2015 at a 10% premium.

UniQure also stands to bag research, development and regulatory milestone payments, including up to $254 million for the lead S100A1 therapeutic and up to $217 million for each other potential. Net sales-based milestone payments and tiered single to double-digit royalties on product sales are also on the cards.