Immuno-Oncology Sector Deals Dominate 2017 Life Sciences Deal of the Year Awards

Bristol-Myers Squibb acquisition of IFM Therapeutics, and Amgen-CytomX licensing deal recognized among more than 4,000 transactions in annual Cortellis Deal of the Year Awards from Clarivate Analytics

 Philadelphia, USA. March 7th 2018: The rapidly innovating immuno-oncology sector is transforming the cancer treatment landscape, and the results of the Clarivate Cortellis 2017 “Deal of the Year” awards bear that out. Clarivate Analytics today announced that Bristol Myers-Squibb’s acquisition of IFM Therapeutics, and Amgen’s licensing deal with CytomX have been named 2017 “Deals of the Year.” Clarivate Analytics, the global leader in insights and analytics that accelerate the pace of innovation, performed a comprehensive analysis of 4,234 life sciences industry transactions taking place in 2017 to identify 10 finalists, from which industry leaders voted to select the top M&A and licensing transactions.

“The winning deals and the other finalists stood apart from more than 4,000 other life sciences deals for their creative structures, use of novel technology to address unmet medical needs, and their attempts to penetrate new markets. These factors are what make a ‘good deal’ and should be the model for the industry,” said Mukhtar Ahmed, President, Life Sciences at Clarivate Analytics. “The winners also reflect the broader trends we are seeing where oncology deals represented more than three times as many deals as neuroscience, the next most prevalent therapeutic area.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb/IFM Therapeutics

Bristol Myers-Squibb’s (BMS) $2.3 billion acquisition of IFM Therapeutics, Inc. last year had everything – a young firm, cool technology and a spinout in the burgeoning cancer sector. BMS is an industry leader in cancer immunotherapy drugs, and IFM develops therapies that target the innate immune system, the body’s first line of immunological response. This focus made two IFM preclinical programs that work to enhance the immune system’s response to cancer cells – STING and NLRP3 – a natural fit for the BMS oncology portfolio. The deal included $300 million upfront and $1.01 billion in milestones for the two programs.

“Bringing in transformational science that complements our portfolio is at the foundation of our strategy as is developing a ‘win-win’ approach for both Bristol-Myers Squibb and an outstanding partner like IFM,” said Paul Biondi, Senior Vice President, Head of Business Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “The acquisition of IFM and subsequent spin out back to Gary Glick and his talented team is a great example of this strategy where innovative science is brought together with leading capabilities and expertise with the central goal of benefiting patients. Bristol-Myers Squibb is honored to be selected from among thousands of transactions as a Clarivate Cortellis ‘Deal of the Year.”

“At IFM, we are excited that the acquisition of our oncology portfolio by Bristol-Myers Squibb has allowed our team to continue research targeting the innate immune system as a spin-off company, with a goal of developing transformative medicines for patients living with cancer and chronic inflammation,” adds Gary D. Glick, Ph.D., President and CEO of IFM Therapeutics, LLC.­­


Amgen’s $1.7 billion immuno-oncology licensing deal with CytomX came on the heels of CytomX’s $3.6 billion deal with BMS. This time, CytomX’s creatively-structured discovery stage licensing deal with Amgen included $40 million in upfront cash and $20 million in equity for the development of Probody T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies against EGFRxCD3. CytomX will take the lead on early development, while Amgen will lead later development and the sales side, should it gain approval, with global late-stage development costs shared between the two companies. Probody therapeutics are designed to take advantage of conditions in the tumor microenvironment to enhance the tumor-targeting features of an antibody while reducing its impact on healthy tissues, and thus adverse events.

In addition to identifying the industry’s top transactions, analysis of the 2017 life sciences deal landscape also revealed that the market value of the most innovative and impactful life sciences transactions increased by 6% totaling US $364 billion, while deal volume dropped by approximately 3%, experiencing contractions in almost every type of deal structure. This represents a reversal from 2016 when deal volume was up, but deal dollars were down. The analysis was drawn from Clarivate Analytics’ Cortellis suite of solutions.

Finalists for the 2017 Clarivate Cortellis “Deal of the Year” included:


  • BMS/IFM Therapeutics (winner)
  • J&J/Actelion
  • Bioverativ/True North
  • Gilead/Kite
  • Merck/Rigontec


  • Amgen/CytomyX (winner)
  • AstraZeneca/Pieris
  • Celgene/BeiGene
  • Eli Lilly/CureVac
  • AbbVie/Alector


Download the Executive Summary of our 2017 Deals and Portfolio Review for a complete look at the analysis referenced above.


About Clarivate Analytics: Clarivate Analytics is the global leader in providing trusted insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation. Building on a heritage going back more than a century and a half, we have built some of the most trusted brands across the innovation lifecycle, including the Web of Science™, Cortellis™, Derwent™, CompuMark™, MarkMonitor® and Techstreet™. Today, Clarivate Analytics is a new and independent company on a bold entrepreneurial mission, to help our clients radically reduce the time from new ideas to life-changing innovations. For more information, please visit


Subscribe to our news

Let's stay in touch. Subscribe to our latest announcements.