Collaborations, Deals

Wrestling with setbacks, Celgene adds $65M discovery alliance with Evotec to beef up on new cancer drugs

Celgene has added a $65 million upfront portion of oncology discovery work with Evotec, 18 months after the two companies allied on neurodegeneration work.

As is typically the case with Celgene $CELG and Evotec, there aren’t an awful lot of details to work with. There’s no mention about milestones in the two-paragraph release, other than a reference to “significant” biobucks. Given the size of the upfront, though, those back-ended milestones are likely to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mark Alles

Cancer R&D is the biggest leg of the R&D table at Celgene, which has been looking to expand beyond Revlimid with new therapies in the oncology field. Beyond its marketed cancer drugs, which includes Pomalyst and Thalomid, Celgene has the BCMA CAR-T bb2121 in the pivotal part of the pipeline, racing with the competition to stay in the lead on that score.

There’s also a major emphasis on inflammation and immunology as researchers scramble to get ozanimod back in front of regulators. 

Celgene has been spending big bucks on its pipeline for years. But new CEO Mark Alles is expected to get some new revenue rolling in, so it won’t be dependent on big annual price hikes on Revlimid, which has attracted some unfavorable attention from the Trump administration.

Evotec, of course, won’t be offering any immediate help on that score. But it has another big notch to add to a belt crowded with discovery alliances like these. 


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