Pharma Focus Asia

Kyn Therapeutics Enters into Global Strategic Collaboration with Celgene to Develop Immuno-oncology Therapies

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Kyn Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company advancing research into new immunometabolic therapies for treating cancer, today announced it has entered into a global strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation. The goal of the collaboration is to develop novel immuno-oncology therapies through uniting Kyn’s immuno-oncology expertise and pipeline with Celgene’s capabilities for developing and commercializing medicines in areas of high unmet medical need. The collaboration begins with an upfront payment and an equity investment by Celgene, which receives exclusive options to license Kyn’s aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) antagonist program and its kynurenine-degrading enzyme (“Kynase”) program.

AHR and kynurenine are associated with immunosuppression in a range of tumor types through multiple cellular metabolic mechanisms that modulate both innate and adaptive immunity. These attributes make them compelling targets for investigative therapies, in particular in patients who do not fully benefit from current treatments like checkpoint inhibitors.

“At Kyn, our team has built a diverse portfolio informed by the most compelling biology in the field of immunometabolism to establish a leadership position in this area of innovative cancer therapy development,” said Mark Manfredi, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Kyn Therapeutics. “Celgene’s R&D capabilities and focus on groundbreaking biology are a strong strategic fit for Kyn’s programs. As a fast-growing immuno-oncology therapeutics developer, we also welcome Celgene on board as an equity investor and supporter of our R&D strategy and leadership.”

“This collaboration signals our continued commitment to work with partners to develop innovative treatments for patients with unmet medical need,” said Robert Hershberg, M.D., Ph.D., EVP, head of business development and global alliances for Celgene Corporation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kyn will receive an upfront cash payment of $80 million and an equity investment from Celgene for exclusive options to globally license the Kynase and AHR antagonist programs. For each program, Kyn is responsible for R&D activities through Phase 1b, at which time Celgene can opt in to lead and fund global development and commercialization of the licensed programs. If successful, Kyn is eligible for substantial clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. Kyn will also receive tiered royalties on worldwide net sales on products resulting from development of the licensed programs.

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