Celgene Collaboration with Skyhawk for Drug Discovery against Neurological Diseases

June 28, 2018  Source: FierceBiotech 219

To develop small molecules which can target RNA mis-splicing in neurological diseases, Celgene is launching a $60 million collaboration with Skyhawk Therapeutics. Celgene received the option to develop up to five drug molecules for correcting neurological diseases such as Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis etc. The $60 million payment includes milestones, license fees and royalties.

In addition to this $60 million collaboration, the Massachusetts-based Skyhawk named Waltham brought in another $40 million. The $100 million budget will help to get its first cancer drug to clinics by 2019, independent from the collaboration with Celgene. Other investors include ShangPharma, Greatpoint Ventures, Agent Capital and Tim Disney.

Last year, Skyhawk and Celgene struck a commercialization deal worth $33 million through their sister company named Dragonfly Therapeutics, in order to develop natural killer cell-based blood cancer therapy.

Richard Hargreaves, the vice president for neuroscience and imaging research from Celgene said, “Targeting RNA with therapeutics is becoming an increasingly important approach in neurological research; This collaboration to discover and develop small molecule splicing modifiers extends our commitment to the neurodegenerative disease area consistent with our leadership and focus on protein homeostasis, and strategy to collaborate with innovators who are focused on disruptive approaches to treat disease.”

Bill Haney, the CEO of Dragonfly said, “Through our new strategic alliance and investment round, the company is well positioned and capitalized to advance both our partnered programs in neurology and internal programs that currently focus on a set of RNA splicing-driven cancer indications.”

By Ddu
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