FORMA Therapeutics forges $200 million deal with Celgene

Work to involve protein homeostasis, which is important in oncology, neurodegenerative and other disorders

Jeffrey Bouley
WATERTOWN, Mass.—FORMA Therapeutics Holdings LLC hasannounced a strategic collaboration agreement with Celgene Corp.under which FORMA and Celgene will discover, develop and commercializedrug candidates to regulate protein homeostasis targets.This is an area important
for therapeutic applications in oncology, neurodegenerativeand other disorders, as it involves understand and manipulating the tightly regulated network of pathwayscontrolling the biogenesis, folding, transport and degradation ofproteins.
 
Clearly, oncology is very much in the forefront, with FORMA Therapeutics President and CEO Dr. Steven Tregay having noted, "We are delighted to have Celgene, one of the world's leadingmultinational biopharmaceutical organizations, as a long-term strategicpartner. This collaboration provides the long-term commitment andresources to enable FORMA to execute on its vision to build anintegrated company bringing transformative cancer therapies to patientsin need."
 
The collaboration between FORMA and Celgene will be launched with anundisclosed up-front payment that will enable Celgene to evaluateselected targets and lead assets in protein homeostasis pathways duringthe preclinical phase. Based on this, Celgene will have theright to obtain exclusive licenses with respect to the development andcommercialization of multiple drug candidates outside of the UnitedStates, in exchange for research and early development payments of as much as$200 million to FORMA.
 
The idea is to give FORMA incentive to advance the full complement of drug candidatesthrough Phase I, while Celgene will be responsible for all furtherglobal clinical development for each licensed candidate.
 
FORMA could receive $315 million in potential payments based upondevelopment, regulatory and sales objectives for the first ex-U.S.license. FORMA is also eligible to receive potential payments forsuccessive licenses, which escalate for productivity, increasing up to amaximum of $430 million per program. In addition, FORMA will receiveroyalties on ex-U.S. sales and additional payments if multiple drugcandidates reach defined cumulative sales objectives, providing asignificant incentive for FORMA to advance multiple drug candidates.
 
"We are enthusiastic about the very innovative scientific and businessstructure approach this collaboration represents. FORMA's unique drugdiscovery platform and disruptive approach to discovery of high impacttherapies offers a valuable complement to our overall strategy," saidDr. Thomas Daniel, president of global research and early development for Celgene.
 
Dr. Kenneth W. Bair, chief scientific officer and head of researchand development for FORMA Therapeutics, added that "protein homeostasis represents a new area ofpromising drug development after years of targeting kinase familyproteins. This significant drug development collaboration has thepotential to bring new drugs against novel targets and address unmetmedical needs in the treatment of many cancers."
 
"This collaboration with FORMA is consistent with our corporate R&Dstrategy, engaging in large collaborations with leading companiesworking in emerging areas of biology," noted Dr. George Golumbeski, senior vice president for business development at Celgene."Our partnership with FORMA represents a remarkably broad and expansiveresearch collaboration, demonstrating our commitment to treat seriousand life threatening diseases."
 
"In an era where the biological understanding of disease and associatedmolecular pathways is extremely complex, the ability to successfullydeliver preventative and therapeutic solutions requires equally creativeapproaches be applied to both the business and scientific aspects of acollaboration. Our emphasis has been to build unique capital-efficientbusiness structures tailored to our partner's needs and optimized tomaximize both shareholder value and accelerated delivery of products topatients," said Dr. Rob Sarisky, chief business officer of FORMATherapeutics.



Jeffrey Bouley

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