Celgene, Triphase Accelerator in $980-Million Oncology Deal

By Lillian Torres -

February 7, 2019

Celgene and Triphase Accelerator, a Toronto based oncology-focused drug-development company, together with FACIT, Triphase’s majority shareholder and a collaboration partner for research companies and investors, have formed a strategic collaboration for a preclinical therapeutic targeting the WDR5 protein for treating blood cancers, including leukemia, in a deal worth up to $980 million.

Under the agreement, Celgene has the option to acquire TRPH-395 from Triphase Accelerator. Celgene will pay an upfront payment of $40 million and upon exercise of the option, Celgene will pay up to $940 million in contingent development, regulatory, and sales milestones. Additional payments for sales-based royalties are also possible.

The WDR5 protein is involved in the formation and activities of certain protein complexes that are associated with DNA and indirectly modify genes, according to information from Triphase. These processes represent a new therapeutic field, referred to as epigenetics. Blood cancers, such as leukemia, can result when WDR5-associated protein complexes are not appropriately regulated in the body. Drug compounds that can disrupt these cancer-causing cellular activities represent a therapeutic approach, which may also improve clinical outcomes in patients with solid tumors, notes the company.

Triphase Accelerator, which advances compounds through Phase II development, was founded by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) in partnership with MaRS Innovation, a non-profit organization consisting of universities, institutions and research institutes in Canada. Triphase Accelerator has a previously formed strategic relationship with Celgene for oncology-focused drug development. In 2016, Celgene acquired Triphase Accelerator’s assets related to its proteasome inhibitor, marizomib, which is currently in Phase III development for glioblastomas.

Source: Triphase Accelerator