Bristol-Myers Squibb has entered a billion-dollar deal with Bothell, Washington-based Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc. to commercialize Alder’s rheumatoid arthritis drug.

BMS will pay Alder $85 million for worldwide rights to Alder’s ALD518 arthritis antibody, which, according to Alder, “represents a promising new anti-inflammatory mechanism that could result in bone and joint preservation.” Alder is also studying the drug for the treatment of cancer.

In addition to the upfront cash payment, Bristol-Myers Squibb could pay milestone payments totaling $964 million, plus an equity investment of as much as $20 million during Alder’s initial public offering. No date for the IPO was given.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY), Route 206 and Province Line Road, Box 4000, Princeton 08543-4000; 609-252-4000. Elliott Sigal MD, chief scientific officer, president, R&D. Home page: www.bms.com.

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