Pharma Focus Asia

Obsidian Therapeutics Announces Strategic Collaboration with Celgene to Develop Novel Cell Therapies

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Obsidian Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing cell therapies with pharmacologic operating systems, today announced a strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) for the discovery and development of novel, regulated cell therapies that utilize Obsidian’s Destabilizing Domain (DD) technology. Specifically, the collaboration is based on Obsidian’s DD technology for the controlled expression of two immunomodulatory factors, IL12 and CD40L, that have the potential to augment the power of adoptive cell therapies but require precise control to optimize their therapeutic benefit.

This multi-year collaboration provides Celgene with the exclusive option to in-license worldwide rights for cell therapy candidates that incorporate DD-regulated IL12 or CD40L for the treatment of cancer. The collaboration includes an upfront payment and equity investment by Celgene, and potential future milestone and royalty payments.

"Obsidian’s technology has the potential to unlock the activity of cell therapy in a number of new settings, particularly against solid tumor malignancies, and this is a prime example of the new technologies that we see enabling broader applications for CAR-T and cell therapies for the treatment of cancer," said Robert Hershberg, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President, Business Development & Global Alliances for Celgene Corporation. "We value the innovation that the Obsidian team can bring and we look forward to working together to bring powerful new immunotherapies to patients.”

This strategic agreement is Obsidian’s first collaboration with a major pharmaceutical company to deploy its DD technology. Obsidian’s technology enables integration and precise pharmacologic control of potent new activities in cell therapies and offers additional capabilities to Celgene’s portfolio of cellular immunotherapies for cancer.

“This collaboration focuses the Obsidian team on product development, accelerates the advance of our innovative technology toward clinical applications, and positions us to expand our own platform and portfolio,” said Michael Gilman, PhD, CEO of Obsidian. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Celgene and will benefit from their capabilities in the development and commercialization of cancer medicines. We share an ambitious vision of the potential for cell therapy to benefit patients with cancer and look forward to working together with the Celgene team to realize it.”

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