Concert in tune with Celgene for $300 million deal

Concert Pharmaceuticals announces a strategic collaboration with Celgene Corp. aimed at developing deuterium-modified compounds against oncology and inflammation targets

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LEXINGTON, Mass.—Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc. announcedMay 6 that it had entered into a strategic collaboration with Summit,N.J.-based Celgene Corp. that is focused on the development of deuterium-modifiedcompounds targeting cancer and inflammation. The collaboration will initiallyfocus on one program, but has the potential to encompass multiple targets, thecompanies say.
 
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Concert willreceive an unspecified upfront payment from Celgene and, should Celgene exerciseits program options, Concert will be eligible to receive as much as $300million in development, regulatory, and sales milestone payments. Moreover, ifCelgene decides to go beyond the initial program, each of the other potentialprograms holds the same potential for another $300 million. In addition,Concert would receive tiered royalties on any product sales for each of theprograms advanced by Celgene.
 
 
"Celgene's deep experience developing clinicallymeaningful therapies, and their global commitment to patients across multipletherapeutic areas, make them an ideal partner," said Dr. Roger Tung, presidentand CEO of Concert Pharmaceuticals.
 
 
The agreement marks Concert's third high-profiledeal in the past year, with Avanir Pharmaceuticals in 2012 and JazzPharmaceuticals in early 2013 having preceded Celgene. In partnering with Concert, what all three arelooking for, ideally, with the addition of deuterium to their drugs is betterefficacy, lower side-effect profiles and/or fewer drug-drug interactions.
 
 
What Concert is looking for, in addition tovalidation and a better financial footing, is to help advance its own in-houseprogram for CTP-499, designed to address diabetic kidney disease, through atleast mid-stage trials. Tung has said that partnerships like these are part ofa strategy to move that homegrown program forward.
 
 
Much like the financial details with Celgene,there is little specificity to be found around the compound or targets. But,with cancer and inflammation the general interest there, and Concert's otherrecent big deals, the company's deuterium-stabilizing technology seems to havewide application. The potentially $120 million pact with Jazz recently was foran improved version of the narcolepsy drug Xyrem and Avanir will spend as muchas $200 million to put Concert's technology to work enhancing its drug forpseudobulbar, a condition that causes involuntary outbursts of crying orlaughing.
 
 
Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital, speculatedin a recent research note that Concert and Celegene may have their eyes onmaking a deuterium-modified version of Revlimid (lenalidomide), Celgene'sblockbuster drug for treating myeloma.




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