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Celgene forges cancer pact with CRT; FDA OKs Pfizer’s Xeljanz as treatment for psoriatic arthritis

→ Celgene has signed a five-year deal with Cancer Research UK’s subsidiary Cancer Research Technology to discover, develop, and commercialize oncology drugs. The duo will work on mRNA translation, the cellular process of assembling proteins. Multiple oncogenes and tumor suppressors act on translation machinery, and dysregulation of protein synthesis is a common feature of cancer cells. Targeting the process could disrupt the spread of cancer. Under the agreement, Celgene is paying an undisclosed upfront fee to Cancer Research Technology. In return, the pharma giant gets the option to buy US rights to projects that arise from the collaboration, and access to global rights at the end of Phase I trials. Cancer Research Technology is eligible for royalties and milestones. “This is our largest drug discovery collaboration to date and represents a major endorsement of the reputation and scale of our capacity and expertise in both drug discovery and clinical development by a leading industry partner,” said Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research Technology’s CEO, in a statement.

→ While the FDA needed more time to review whether Pfizer’s Xeljanz can treat ulcerative colitis, it had no problem approving the JAK inhibiting drug for patients with active psoriatic arthritis who have not responded to other treatments. The expanded label, announced today, covers both the 5mg twice-daily dose and the 11mg once-daily extended release version, dubbed Xeljanz XR. First approved in 2012 as an oral alternative to injections for rheumatoid arthritis, Xeljanz brought in $348 million for Pfizer $PFE in the latest quarter, despite some threats from big rivals. But now that Regeneron/Sanofi’s sarilumab got the green light, things might look a little different.

→ South San Francisco-based Global Blood Therapeutics $GBT has priced a $100 million stock offering.

→ Cambridge, MA-based Dicerna $DRNA has set out to raise $40 million through a stock offering. The money is being reserved for its pipeline work.

With additional reporting by Brittany Meiling and John Carroll.


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