Ahead of being absorbed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene forged a strategic collaboration with two companies to develop immuno-oncology treatments and cell therapies.
First, Celgene struck a deal with Boston-based Kyn Therapeutics to develop novel immuno-oncology therapies. Celgene provided $80 million in an upfront payment, as well as an equity investment to exclusively license Kyn’s Kynase (kynurenine-degrading enzyme) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) antagonist programs. The companies will harness Celgene’s expertise in oncology and its pipeline of products and combine it with Kyn’s own pipeline of products to focus on areas of high unmet need.
Under terms of the agreement, Kyn will be responsible for R&D activities through Phase Ib, at which time Celgene can opt in to lead and fund global development and commercialization of the licensed programs.
AHR and kynurenine are associated with immunosuppression in a range of tumor types through multiple cellular metabolic mechanisms that modulate both innate and adaptive immunity. These attributes make them compelling targets for investigative therapies, in particular in patients who do not fully benefit from current treatments like checkpoint inhibitors, Kyn said in its announcement. If the collaboration is successful, Kyn is eligible for substantial clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments.
Mark Manfredi, Kyn’s president and chief executive officer, said his team of researchers has been focused on taking a lead in the field of immunometabolism. He said Celgene’s R&D capabilities and focus on groundbreaking biology are a strong strategic fit for Kyn’s programs.
Robert Hershberg, head of business development and global alliances for Celgene Corporation, said the collaboration with Kyn signals the company’s “continued commitment to work with partners to develop innovative treatments for patients with unmet medical need.”
In addition to the deal with Kyn, Celgene forged a collaborative effort to develop cell therapies that target cancer with Obsidian Therapeutics. The companies will use Obsidian’s Destabilizing Domain (DD) technology to develop the cell therapies. Specifically, the collaboration is based on Obsidian’s DD technology for the controlled expression of two immunomodulatory factors, IL12 and CD40L, which have the potential to augment the power of adoptive cell therapies but require precise control to optimize their therapeutic benefit.
The collaboration with Celgene is a first for Obsidian. To date, the company has not established a partnership with a major pharmaceutical company that centers on its Destabilizing Domain technology. Financial terms of this collaboration were not disclosed, although Obsidian said it includes an upfront payment and equity investment by Celgene, and potential future milestone and royalty payments.
For the Obsidian deal, Celgene’s Hershberg said that company’s DD technology has the potential to unlock the activity of cell therapy in a number of new settings. In particular, Hershberg said those settings include solid tumor malignancies. The DD technology will enable broader applications for CAR-T treatments and other cell therapies for treating cancer, he said.
Obsidian CEO Michael Gilman said the collaboration with Celgene will accelerate advancement of the DD technology toward clinical applications and positions the company to expand its own platform and portfolio.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Celgene and will benefit from their capabilities in the development and commercialization of cancer medicines. We share an ambitious vision of the potential for cell therapy to benefit patients with cancer and look forward to working together with the Celgene team to realize it,” Gilman said in a statement.
Celgene’s collaborations come about two weeks after the company agreed to be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $74 billion. The merger of the two companies is aimed at creating a pharma giant with a significant pipeline focused on oncology, inflammatory and immunologic diseases, and cardiovascular disease. Celgene’s deals with the two companies were most likely in the works ahead of the BMS announcement. It is unclear how much a role BMS may have had in affirming the two deals.
在被百时美施贵宝收购之前， Celgene 与两家公司建立了战略合作关系，开发免疫肿瘤治疗和细胞疗法。
首先， Celgene 与波士顿的 Kyn Therapeutics 达成了开发新型免疫肿瘤疗法的协议。Celgene 提供了8000万美元的预付款。以及股权投资，独家许可 Kyn's Kynase （ kynurnine 降解酶）和芳烃受体（ AHR ）拮抗剂项目，两家公司将利用 Celgene 在肿瘤学及其产品管道方面的专业知识，并将其与 Kyn 自己的产品管道结合，专注于尚未满足的高需求领域。
根据协议条款， Kyn 将负责通过 Ib 阶段进行研发活动，届时 Celgene 可以选择领导并资助许可项目的全球开发和商业化。
AHR 和 kynurnine 通过调节先天免疫和适应性免疫的多细胞新陈代谢机制，与多种肿瘤类型的免疫抑制相关。Kyn 在其声明中说，这些特性使他们成为调查疗法的目标，特别是那些不能从目前的治疗中完全受益的患者，如检查点抑制剂。如果合作成功， Kyn 有资格获得重大的临床、监管和商业里程碑付款。
Kyn 总裁兼首席执行官马克•曼弗雷迪( Mark Manfredi )表示，他的研究团队一直致力于在免疫代谢领域取得领先地位。他说， Celgene 的研发能力和对突破性生物学的关注是 Kyn 项目的强大战略适合。
CelgeneCorporation 业务开发和全球联盟主管罗伯特•赫什伯格( Robert Hershberg )表示，与 Kyn 的合作表明，该公司“继续致力于与合作伙伴合作，为未满足医疗需求的患者开发创新治疗方案”。
除了与 Kyn 达成协议外， Celgene 还与 Obsidian Therapeutics 合作开发了针对癌症的细胞疗法。这些公司将使用 Obsidian 的销毁领域（ DD ）技术来开发细胞疗法。具体而言，该合作基于 Obsidian 的 DD 技术，用于控制两种免疫调节因子 IL12和 CD40L 的表达，这两种因子有可能增强采用细胞疗法的能力，但需要精确控制以优化其治疗效益。
与 Celgene 的合作是 Obsidian 的第一次。到目前为止，公司尚未与一家主要的制药公司建立合作关系，该公司专注于其销毁领域技术。该合作的财务条款并未披露，不过 Obsidian 表示，其中包括 Celgene 的预付款项和股权投资，以及未来可能的里程碑和特许权使用费。
对于 Obsidian 的交易， Celgene 的 Hershberg 说，公司的 DD 技术有潜力在一些新的环境中释放细胞治疗的活性。特别是，赫什伯格说，这些设置包括实体肿瘤恶性肿瘤。他说， DD 技术将使 CAR-T 疗法和其他治疗癌症的细胞疗法得到更广泛的应用。
Obsidian 首席执行官 Michael Gilman 表示，与 Celgene 的合作将加速 DD 技术向临床应用的发展，并使公司定位于扩大自己的平台和产品组合。
“我们很高兴能与 Celgene 合作，并将受益于他们在癌症药物开发和商业化方面的能力。吉尔曼在一份声明中说：“我们对细胞治疗对癌症患者有益的潜力有着雄心勃勃的愿景，我们期待着与 Celgene 团队合作实现这一目标。”
两周前， Celgene 同意以740亿美元的价格被百时美施贵宝收购。两家公司的合并旨在打造一个药企巨头，拥有专注于肿瘤、炎症和免疫学疾病、心血管疾病的重要管线。在 BMS 宣布之前， Celgene 与这两家公司的交易最有可能进行。目前还不清楚 BMS 在确认这两笔交易中扮演了多大角色。