Nimbus Therapeutics, a biotechnology company applying deep computational expertise throughout drug discovery and development, announced the initiation of a long-term strategic alliance with Celgene in immunology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene will receive an option to acquire each program in the alliance up through a clinical inflection point. Nimbus will receive an upfront payment and potential downstream milestone payments for each program Celgene chooses to acquire. Nimbus will retain full control of research and development activities for each program prior to the program’s option point. Financial terms will remain undisclosed until Celgene acquires a program.
The Nimbus programs covered under the alliance include a preclinical effort targeting Tyk2 (tyrosine kinase 2), a signal-transduction kinase for key pro-inflammatory cytokine receptors, including IL-23, IL-12 and type-I interferons. Because of its central role in the inflammatory response, Tyk2 is a high-potential target for the treatment of autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. The alliance also covers Nimbus’ preclinical small-molecule STING (stimulator of interferon genes) antagonist program, which seeks to block the role played by STING in the activation of the innate immune system in lupus and other interferonopathies. Nimbus will continue to own and develop its small-molecule STING agonist program for immuno-oncology, which is not part of the agreement.
“Celgene is committed to the continued growth of our expanding immunology and inflammation pipeline, and believes that the Nimbus immunology programs, including their efforts on Tyk2 and STING antagonists, represent important additions as we work to create the next generation of drug candidates for patients with autoimmune disorders,” said Rupert Vessey, F.R.C.P., D.Phil., Executive Vice President and President, Global Research and Early Development, of Celgene.
Robert Plenge, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Early Development, and Head, Inflammation and Immunology Thematic Center of Excellence, of Celgene, added, “We are excited about the potential of the Nimbus immunology targets, which are based on compelling human genetic data. Moreover, Nimbus’ robust in silico-based approach is very promising.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Celgene and its world-renowned inflammation and immunology team to fuel the rapid advancement of these important potential therapeutic programs for patients,” said Donald Nicholson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Nimbus. “In addition, our agreement with Celgene accelerates our growth as a company back into the clinic, while also expanding the breadth of our pipeline.”