NantBioScience inks cancer collaboration with Celgene

Celgene to pay $75 million up front for an option fee and equity investment

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LOS ANGELES—Celgene Corporation and NantBioScience, a subsidiary of NantWorks, LLC, have established a strategic collaboration for the advancement of new cancer research programs. Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene will pay NantBioScience $75 million in funding as an upfront option fee and equity investment. NantBioScience will create a pipeline of nab-based molecules, and Celgene will license two nab product candidates to NantBioScience, both of which have received Investigational New Drug (IND) approval. Celgene will have an option to license a number of product candidates developed by NantBioScience, including the two nab product candidates to be licensed to NantBioScience. Celgene can exercise those options through the completion of Phase I clinical studies.
“Celgene is excited to team up again with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the creator of Abraxane and the founder of the nab technology platform. We are committed to his vision of molecularly driven personalized medicine and to collaborating with NantBioScience at the forefront of this era where genomic- and proteomic-based solutions may provide the path to a cure for cancers,” Bob Hugin, chairman and CEO of Celgene, said in a press release.
NantBioScience aims to innovate drug development by evaluating molecrularly targeted drugs based on the molecular profile of each patient’s tumor, regardless of the cancer’s anatomical type. The first product candidate, NTB-011, is a nanoparticle albumin-bound formulation of a novel colchicine dimer with cytotoxic and vascular disrupting properties. NTB-010, the second product candidate, is a nanoparticle albumin-bound formulation of the geldanomycin analogue, 17-AAG, a potent HSP90 inhibitor. The latter will be studied in patients with a variety of hematological and solid tumors, and Phase I clinical trials for both product candidates are slated to begin between 2014 and 2015.
NantBioScience’s R&D program includes a variety of oncology compounds, such as a novel inhibitor of oncogenic KRAS, which will advance into IND-enabling studies this year, as well as multi-kinase inhibitors. NantBioScience is also working on drugs that target the activities of the tumor suppressor p53.
“We intend to make obsolete the standard method of clinical trial design of ‘trial and error’ and replace it with a level of quantitative predictability based on both the genomic and proteomic profile performed a priori. We also intend to make obsolete the common understanding that cancer treatments, developed under the age old dogma of ‘maximum tolerated dose,’ may work but only by wreaking terrible side effects, bringing patients to the brink of death,” Soon-Shiong, founder of NantWorks, commented in a statement. “Celgene has been a strong steward for Abraxane, which is now approved for metastatic breast, lung and pancreatic cancer. This new partnership will enable us to aggressively advance our drug pipeline and put us one step closer to developing—and then delivering—molecular-designed cancer treatments for patients to receive the right care at the right time. We have invested over $100 Million in the pursuit of this platform to date, and are very excited to have Celgene as our partner in this pursuit.”

SOURCE: NantBioScience press release

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