Celgene enters its third oncology collaboration after being acquired by Bristol Meyers Squibb.

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/otawa)
(Image: Getty/otawa)

Related tags preclinical Preclinical contract research Protein Immuno-oncology Celgene Bristol-myers squibb

Celgene, Triphase Accelerator, and Facit entered a collaboration for a first-in-class preclinical therapeutic, targeting the WDR5 protein for the treatment of leukemia and other blood cancers.

Per the agreement, Celgene will be able to exercise an option to acquire Triphase’s TRPH-395 compound. Celgene will pay $40m (€34.9m) upfront and up to $940m contingent to development, regulatory, and sales milestones.

The compound was produced at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). Triphase will advance the therapeutic compound through a Phase II proof-of-concept trial.

The WDR5 protein is critical for the formation of certain protein complexes that are associated with DNA and can indirectly modify genes. According to Triphase, when WDR5 associated protein complexes are not regulated in the body, blood cancers such as leukemia can occur.

“The teams at OICR Drug Discovery, FACIT and Triphase Accelerator have together created an optimal pathway for oncology innovation and help make Ontario a strong collaborator and destination for our investment,”​ Jorge DiMartino, VP of translational development at Celgene, said in a statement.

Bristol- Myers Squibb​ agreed to acquire Celgene at the beginning of January 2019 for $74bn. The merger between BMS and Celgene was established partly to strengthen its immuno-oncology franchises – since the announcement, Celgene has continued to enter oncology related collaborations.

Continued oncology collaboration

Celgene recently entered an agreement with Kyn Therapeutics​ to bolster its immune-oncology pipeline. Celgene provided an upfront payment to receive global license to Kyn’s hydrocarbon receptor antagonist program and its kynurenine-degrading enzyme.

Additionally, Obsidian Therapeutics and Celgene entered a collaboration for the discovery and development of regulated therapies that use Obsidian’s destabilizing domain technology. This agreement granted Celgene the exclusive option to in-license rights for cell therapy candidates indicated for the treatment of cancer.

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