Deals

Celgene embraces MTAP cancer deal with fast-moving collaborator Agios

Scott Biller, Agios

Ten months after Celgene paid Agios $200 million to rejig their extensive collaboration deal, the big biotech is taking a step forward down a metabolism pathway for oncology. Celgene has tapped Agios’ drug focused on MTAP — methylthioadenosine phosphorylase — deleted cancers as a development candidate under their master agreement.

The move gives Agios $AGIO a quick $8 million payday for the early-stage effort. And Celgene can opt in now at some point through Phase I dose escalation, which will require handing over $30 million more plus committing to $169 million in milestones on the program.

“We have clearly demonstrated our ability to translate novel Agios discoveries into important precision medicines in areas of high unmet need with our IDH portfolio,” said Scott Biller, PhD, chief scientific officer at Agios. “We look forward to exploring the potential of our MTAP program in patients following our expected IND submission by the end of this year.”

Celgene $CELG and Agios have been working together for the past six years. Last March the biotech regained ex-US rights to AG-120 as it reconfigured the outlines of their pact.

Just a few days ago Agios and Celgene floored it on enasidenib (AG-221),  hustling an application for acute myeloid leukemia to the FDA.

Celgene first allied itself with Agios back in 2010, partnering on cancer metabolism, which generally deals with cell growth and proliferation. That deal led Celgene to grab worldwide rights to AG-221—a mutant IDH2 protein inhibitor—in 2014. AG-120 is an IDH1 inhibitor. The company came back for AG-881 with an option deal in 2015.

Agios has been working on MTAP inhibitors after discovering that the pathway delivered anti-tumor evidence in animal models for cancer. MTAP deletions, says Agios, is involved in about 15% of all cancers.



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