Behind the deal spree, Celgene continues to cautiously explore neurosciences

Bob Hugin

Two years ago during a lunch with a group of reporters at the JPMorgan confab, then Celgene CEO (now executive chairman) Bob Hugin got my attention with a comment on the importance of neurosciences in the pipeline.

Any company that expects to have a major position in the industry a decade from now will almost have to play a big role in developing therapies for neurodegeneration, he told us, making it clear that he wasn’t talking about some sudden splurge on neurodegeneration deals.

Rupert Vessey

Since then, the company $CELG — which made some bold moves this month in acquiring Juno and Impact — has made some signal moves in the neurosciences field, which has continued to see plenty of exits (Pfizer) and lots of late-stage failures (Axovant, Takeda, etc).

So in reading over the transcript from their Q4 call, I was curious to see this update on their plans from R&D chief Rupert Vessey on neurosciences.

So we have formed a small internal team that’s very expert in neuroscience and the areas that we’ve been focusing on leveraging our strengths in protein homeostasis.

Last year you’re aware that we formed relationship with Evotec that was looking at that angle for neurodegenerative disease. And then also we really see ourselves as a immunology expert company for obvious reasons. And as you’re aware neuro-inflammation is a key cause of neurodegenerative disease and we’re in the process of evaluating approaches for that angle of therapy as well.

Celgene is continuing its cautious move forward in the field. And I’m still watching.

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