BOSTON—Acetylon Pharmaceuticals has announced that Summit,N.J.-based Celgene Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company focused on thediscovery, development and commercialization of products for treating cancerand other immune and inflammatory conditions, will be investing a total of $15million in Acetylon by way of the purchase of Series B-2 Preferred Stock. Inaddition, Mark Alles, Chief Commercial Officer at Celgene, will be serving as anon-voting observer to Acetylon's board of directors. The equity purchaseagreement does not grant Celgene any rights or options to Acetylon'stechnology.
"Celgene is a leader in developing and deliveringtransformational therapies for the treatment of blood cancers, and theirinvestment in Acetylon further validates the rapid progress and therapeuticpromise of our selective HDAC inhibitor drug development programs," Walter C.Ogier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Acetylon, said in a pressrelease. "The potential synergistic combination of Celgene's class-leadingmyeloma drug, Revlimid (lenalidomide), with Acetylon's selective HDAC6inhibitor, ACY-1215, in clinical trials is an exciting prospect for thetreatment of patients with progressive disease. In addition to Celgene'sfunding, we will also welcome their contribution of clinical andcommercialization expertise to our organization as we advance and expand ourclinical trials program over the coming year."
Acetlyon's current focus is the development of potentialdrug candidates based on next-generation Class II-selective histone deacetylase(HDAC) inhibitors. HDAC6, a Class IIB enzyme, has gained attention as animportant target in inflammatory disease, neurologic disease and broadly incancer. Acetylon believes its next-generation, selective HDAC inhibitorcompounds could result in enhanced clinical utility while reducing oreliminating the dangerous side effect currently associated withfirst-generation non-selective HDAC inhibitors, while providing enhanceddisease response and outcomes in patients.
Acetylon's lead HDAC6 inhibitor program focuses on enhancingdrug potency as well as reducing or eliminating side effects that generallyresult from HDAC inhibition by way of highly selective targeting of the HDAC6enzyme. Inhibition of this enzyme preserves normal gene expression in cells,minimizing patient toxicity, while concurrently severely disrupting diseasedcells' ability to produce normal proteins. This inhibition also disrupts cells'ability to dispose of damaged misfolded proteins. Metabolically active cancerand autoimmune cells produce large amounts of misfolded proteins, andinhibiting HDAC6 increases the production and accumulation of this protein "waste,"which in turn triggers self-destruction of diseased cells via apoptosis.
"Our investment in Acetylon Pharmaceuticals reflects ourcontinuing commitment to help patients with hematologic malignancies to gainaccess to disease-altering therapies that improve the lives of patientsworldwide," said Alles in a press release. "Acetylon has established itself asthe leader in developing next generation, selective HDAC inhibitors for cancersas well as non-cancer disease indications and we believe the Company's approachcould significantly benefit patients."
SOURCE: Acetylon press release