FORMA Therapeutics forges $200 million deal with Celgene
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


WATERTOWN, Mass.óFORMA Therapeutics Holdings LLC has announced a strategic collaboration agreement with Celgene Corp. under which FORMA and Celgene will discover, develop and commercialize drug candidates to regulate protein homeostasis targets.This is an area important
for therapeutic applications in oncology, neurodegenerative and other disorders, as it involves understand and manipulating the tightly regulated network of pathways controlling the biogenesis, folding, transport and degradation of proteins.
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 leading multinational biopharmaceutical organizations, as a long-term strategic partner. This collaboration provides the long-term commitment and resources to enable FORMA to execute on its vision to build an integrated company bringing transformative cancer therapies to patients in need."
The collaboration between FORMA and Celgene will be launched with an undisclosed up-front payment that will enable Celgene to evaluate selected targets and lead assets in protein homeostasis pathways during the preclinical phase. Based on this, Celgene will have the right to obtain exclusive licenses with respect to the development and commercialization of multiple drug candidates outside of the United States, 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 candidates through Phase I, while Celgene will be responsible for all further global clinical development for each licensed candidate.
FORMA could receive $315 million in potential payments based upon development, regulatory and sales objectives for the first ex-U.S. license. FORMA is also eligible to receive potential payments for successive licenses, which escalate for productivity, increasing up to a maximum of $430 million per program. In addition, FORMA will receive royalties on ex-U.S. sales and additional payments if multiple drug candidates reach defined cumulative sales objectives, providing a significant incentive for FORMA to advance multiple drug candidates.
"We are enthusiastic about the very innovative scientific and business structure approach this collaboration represents. FORMA's unique drug discovery platform and disruptive approach to discovery of high impact therapies offers a valuable complement to our overall strategy," said Dr. Thomas Daniel, president of global research and early development for Celgene.
Dr. Kenneth W. Bair, chief scientific officer and head of research and development for FORMA Therapeutics, added that "protein homeostasis represents a new area of promising drug development after years of targeting kinase family proteins. This significant drug development collaboration has the potential to bring new drugs against novel targets and address unmet medical needs in the treatment of many cancers. "
"This collaboration with FORMA is consistent with our corporate R&D strategy, engaging in large collaborations with leading companies working 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 expansive research collaboration, demonstrating our commitment to treat serious and life threatening diseases."
"In an era where the biological understanding of disease and associated molecular pathways is extremely complex, the ability to successfully deliver preventative and therapeutic solutions requires equally creative approaches be applied to both the business and scientific aspects of a collaboration. Our emphasis has been to build unique capital-efficient business structures tailored to our partner's needs and optimized to maximize both shareholder value and accelerated delivery of products to patients," said Dr. Rob Sarisky, chief business officer of FORMA Therapeutics.

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