Celgene, FORMA Therapeutics ink second collaboration

FORMA will receive an upfront payment of $225 million, and the initial term of the collaboration will be three and a half years

Kelsey Kaustinen
WATERTOWN, Mass.—FORMA Therapeutics has announced a strategic collaboration and option agreement with Summit, N.J.-based Celgene Corporation. This is the second agreement the two organizations have established in the past year.
 
“Progress in our existing collaboration, coupled with emerging evidence of the power of FORMA’s platform to generate unique chemical matter across important emerging target families, leads us to expand the collaboration and enable a unique collaborative relationship—one that complements the significant strengths of our internal discovery and development organization,” Thomas Daniel, M.D., president of Global Research and Early Development at Celgene, commented in a statement.
 
Per the terms of the agreement, Celgene paid FORMA $225 million up front, and the companies began a collaboration that will last three and a half years. In addition to the original duration of the deal, Celgene has the option to enter into up to two additional collaborations with two-year terms each, for additional payments totaling roughly $375 million. Should all collaborations prove successful, and if Celgene chooses to establish all three collaborations, the collaborations may extend for seven and a half years all told. During the third collaboration term, Celgene will have an exclusive option to acquire FORMA, including U.S. rights to all licensed programs and global rights to other wholly owned FORMA programs at that time.
 
Celgene will also have an option to license the rights to select current and future FORMA programs in return for additional undisclosed development and regulatory milestone payments. Celgene will be responsible for all global development activities and costs following the completion of Phase 1 clinical trials. FORMA will maintain U.S. rights to all such licensed assets, including responsibility for manufacturing and commercialization, and will retain worldwide rights for products not licensed to Celgene.
 
“Independent from the previously signed partnership with Celgene whereby they secured ex-U.S. rights to a defined set of protein homeostasis targets, this second agreement expands across FORMA’s preclinical and future clinical development efforts, encompassing numerous protein target families and covering a broad range of therapeutic areas,” Steven Tregay, Ph.D., president and CEO of FORMA Therapeutics, said in a press release. “Importantly, this new alliance enables FORMA to maintain autonomy in defining our research strategy and conducting discovery through early clinical development of our product portfolio. It aligns our company with Celgene’s global leadership in hematology and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases and a shared strategic directive to transform healthcare.”
 
The companies’ first agreement was established a year ago in late April 2013, when Celgene and FORMA announced they would be working together to discover, develop and commercialize drug candidates to regulate protein homeostasis. FORMA announced that it successfully met its first objective for the agreement in October 2013, which triggered an undisclosed payment from Celgene.
 
“This second collaboration with FORMA is based upon a very strategic relationship and complete alignment between FORMA’s and Celgene’s R&D efforts,” said George Golumbeski, Ph.D., senior vice president for Business Development at Celgene. “This expansive collaboration will allow FORMA’s powerful drug discovery engine to probe multiple emerging areas of biology in the pursuit of step-ahead therapies for future patients. Both organizations take pride in developing creative alliances that fully enable the science to succeed, and this initiative is truly reflective of that concept.”

Kelsey Kaustinen

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