Another day, another pharma-academia hook-up, and this time its Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Medical University of South Carolina combining forces to study fibrotic diseases.

The translational research collaboration is geared up towards gaining a deeper insight into conditions such as scleroderma, renal fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, in the hope of accelerating the development of new treatments.

The parties said their agreement includes studies designed to improve the mechanistic understanding of fibrosis, explore patient segmentation based on disease characteristics and/or biomarker approaches and predictors of disease progression.

“MUSC brings substantial expertise in translational research and drug discovery related to fibrotic diseases including access to patient derived disease tissue samples that will help us accelerate the application of scientific knowledge to potential new treatment approaches for patients,” noted Carl Decicco, head of discovery, R&D, at BMS.

BMS already has a number of assets in its fibrosis portfolio, including: BMS-986020, a lysophosphatidic acid 1 receptor antagonist in Phase II for IPF; and a CCR2/5 dual antagonist also in Phase II for diabetic kidney disease. 

Recent deals have also secured the firm an option to buy Galecto Biotech AB and thus rights to its lead asset TD139, a novel inhaled inhibitor of galectin-3 in Phase I development for the treatment of IPF and other pulmonary fibrotic conditions, as well as an agreement with the California Institute for Biomedical Research to develop novel small molecule anti-fibrotic therapies.