Allied Minds and Bristol-Myers Squibb are joining forces to foster biopharmaceutical research at US universities.

Allied Minds, a Boston-based specialist in commercialising university research, and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), a New York City-based pharmaceutical company, have formed a new jointly owned enterprise. Called Allied-Bristol Life Sciences, the new partnership will seek out and support research and pre-clinical development of biopharmaceutical products and technologies at US universities.

The two new partners are hoping that the collaboration will allow them to identify therapies and drug candidates that could eventually be brought to market globally and tackle serious diseases.

As part of the forthcoming agreements with universities, researchers will be given full access to BMS’s drug discovery research expertise, and will be able to draw on Allied Minds for financial and management experience.

Under the terms of the deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb has the option to acquire the company from Allied-Bristol Life Sciences if a pre-clinical trial proves successful. The terms of such an acquisition are pre-determined as part of the formation of Allied-Bristol Life Sciences.

BMS is the result of the 1989 merger of Bristol-Myers (established in 1887) and Squibb (established in 1858). Throughout the 1940s to 1960, the two companies were each instrumental in the development of various antibiotics and in 1961, Squibb invented the electric toothbrush.

The company’s greatest recognition to date came in 1999, when then-US president Bill Clinton awarded BMS the National Medal of Technology, the US’s highest recognition for technological achievement, for its contributions to the pharmaceutical industry. As of the financial year 2013, BMS has a revenue of $16.39bn with a net income of $2.56bn.

Meanwhile, Allied Minds was established in 2006 and is a science and technology development and commercialisation company. It currently counts partnerships with 33 US universities and 26 US federal government institutions. These partnerships have so far led to 18 portfolio companies, a figure the company is hoping double within the next couple of years.

Among its university partners are six of the eight Ivy League schools – Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Yale, Penn State and Cornell universities – and six of the ten University of California campuses – LA, Berkeley, San Diego, Davis, Irvine and San Francisco. Of its federal government partners, the Pentagon and Homeland Security are among the most notable as both have granted Allied Minds a first option on commercialising technologies being developed at their respective departments.

Allied Minds floated on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market on June 25, 2014, and has a current market cap of more than £480m ($809m). The company’s shares have been steadily increasing in value since the initial public offering and as of the time of writing (August 6th, 2014), individual shares are sold at £235 ($395), up from £190 ($320) on flotation.

The companies have issued no statement on a timeline going forward for Allied-Bristol Life Sciences.

Carl Decicco, senior vice-president and Head of Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said: “Allied-Bristol Life Sciences brings together cutting-edge ideas, biopharmaceutical experience and drug discovery expertise focused on maximising the potential of new scientific approaches to addressing serious disease. We believe this new venture will enhance the translation of early-stage academic research and will ultimately help advance important potential new medicines more efficiently.”

Chris Silva, chief executive at Allied Minds, added: “The innovations developed in US research institutions represent an important resource for scientific advancement, as well as economic development and financial returns. Our partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb combines complementary strengths, resources, reach and expertise to create an exciting new paradigm in the drug-development space.”