PharmAria and Celgene announce strategic partnership
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


SAN DIEGO—PharmAria LLC announced Oct. 15 that it had entered into an agreement with Celgene Corp. focused on advancing the discovery of new small-molecule therapeutics  targeting cancer and fibrotic diseases—a deal that might lead to an M&A deal down the line.
Under the agreement, Celgene will provide seed-stage funding for PharmAria, and will work with PharmAria to secure additional series A venture funding, a process in which Celgene will participate in addition to any other funders.
Following what is hoped to be a successful series A financing, Celgene will receive an equity position in PharmAria, along with the option to license certain research and development programs. Moreover, Celgene also gains in this deal the option to acquire PharmAria at some point in the future.  

No specifics were offered in the news release about the deal in terms of financial investments or percentages.
PharmAria reports that the seed funding provided by Celgene will go toward building the initial scientific team, initiating operations and starting to identify clinical candidates against selected targets.  
"The goal of PharmAria is to bring together excellent people, world class science, and a sense of urgency to efficiently discover and develop new medicines to improve the lives of patients with life threatening diseases," said
Jilly Evans, PharmAria's chief scientific officer. "As our discussions with Celgene developed it became apparent that Celgene would be an ideal business and scientific partner to help PharmAria achieve our goals."   

"The PharmAria team has a great track record of prior success," added Dr. Thomas Daniel, Celgene's president of global research and early development. "We are committed to new business models with innovators capable of delivering important therapies on aggressive time lines."  
John Hutchinson, PharmAria's president, noted that the "unique deal structure with Celgene" will provide PharmAria with the ability to create significant value for investors, while at the same time giving Celgene access to "additional world-class research and novel clinical candidates for its pipeline," adding that he thinks the business model "will serve as a mutually beneficial model for biopharmaceutical companies to collaborate going forward."  

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