VentiRx Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on novel Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) agonists and antagonists, has formed an exclusive, world-wide collaboration with Celgene, an integrated global biopharmaceutical company, for the development of VTX-2337, a highly potent and selective TLR8 agonist for the treatment of cancer.
Celgene will provide a $35 million upfront payment to fund further research and development of VTX-2337 through pre-defined clinical endpoints. During the option period, VentiRx will be eligible to receive additional funding, including a potential equity investment by Celgene. As part of the strategic agreement, Celgene will retain the exclusive option to acquire VentiRx.
"We are excited to have the support of Celgene to advance our development efforts and optimize the potential of VTX-2337 as a novel immunotherapy that augments current treatment regimens," said Robert Hershberg, CEO of VentiRx. "We have made significant progress to date in preclinical and clinical studies, and this collaboration reflects both the promise of VTX-2337 and the commitment by Celgene to pursue innovation in cancer therapeutics."
Thomas Daniel, president of research and early development, Celgene, added, "We are enthusiastic about the emerging potential for cancer immunotherapy in general, and view the VentiRx candidate, VTX-2337 as quite promising. We look forward to clinical data in combination therapy that would position this candidate drug into a strategic position in our pipeline."