Vividion Therapeutics Snags $101M from Celgene

Partnership Shaking Hands

Celgene continues to make friends in the biotech industry. This morning the pharma giant handed over $101 million in upfront monies to San Diego-based Vividion Therapeutics as part of an agreement to develop small molecule therapies.

The strategic collaboration will focus on developing unique small molecules therapies for a range of oncology, inflammatory and neurodegenerative indications, the two companies said. Vividion and Celgene said the collaboration is intended to advance new small molecules that function through the ubiquitin proteasome system, modulating specific protein levels for therapeutic benefit.

Rupert Vessey, head of research and early development at Celgene, said Vividion’s “cutting-edge drug discovery platform” provided the capability and opportunity to “accelerate drug delivery in new and impactful ways by expanding the druggable proteome and addressing difficult targets.” Vessey said the collaboration will provide both companies the opportunity to have a comprehensive and accelerated drug discovery approach for indications that can have a “high potential impact” on patients.

It’s no surprise that Vividion Therapeutics, which launched last year, and Celgene formed an alliance. Tom Daniel, the former president of Celgene’s global research and early development division, serves as Vividion’s executive chairman of the board.

Vividion’s drug discovery platform for proteome-wide ligand and target discovery applies chemical proteomics to expand the “druggable proteome” to address difficult medical targets.

For its part, Celgene has not been afraid to invest in potential therapies. Since 2014 Celgene has billions of dollars on developmental partnerships, most noticeably the $1 billion the company invested in a 10-year partnership with Juno Therapeutics. A little more than two years after taking that stake in Juno Celgene acquired the rest of the company in a $9 billion deal. Under terms of the deal, Celgene and Vividion will embark on a four-year partnership. If it appears to be promising Celgene can extend that partnership for another two years for an additional payment.

"We are extremely pleased to collaborate with a leading medical innovator, Celgene. Our unique drug discovery capabilities provide new, expanded therapeutic possibilities," Diego Miralles, Vividion’s chief executive officer said in a statement. "We believe we can transform and accelerate the way small molecules are discovered, as our proprietary screening technology rapidly identifies and advances chemistry for targets that until now have remained undruggable."

Vividion will lead initial discovery efforts and identify programs to be included in the collaboration. Celgene will have the right to opt into the programs if an Investigational New Drug Application is accepted. For certain programs, including the first program, Celgene will receive exclusive worldwide rights, with the potential for Vividion to receive up to double-digit royalties on sales and milestone payments.  Other programs will allow for Celgene and Vividion to share equally either U.S. or worldwide development costs and commercialization profits and losses.

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