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Celgene to acquire Delinia in a potential $775 million deal

Published on 27/01/17 at 09:54am

Celgene has shelled out $300 million upfront, with a potential further $475 million in milestone payments, for Delinia, an autoimmune disease therapeutics firm. The deal gives Celgene access to Delinia’s lead preclinical candidate, a regulatory T cell therapy.

The lead candidate is known as DEL106, and is a novel IL-2 mutein Fc fusion protein designed to preferentially upregulate regulatory T cells (Tregs). These immune cells play an important role in maintaining immune system balance and natural self-tolerance. The potential function of the candidate would be to treat patients with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

“Delinia is at the forefront of advancing new approaches to treating patients with severe and debilitating autoimmune diseases,” said Rupert Vessey, president of research and early development for Celgene Corporation. “We look forward to progressing DEL106 into the clinic next year.”

“We are delighted to enter into this transaction with Celgene,” said Saurabh Saha, CEO at Delinia. "Their expanding Inflammation and Immunology franchise and strong commitment to scientific innovation makes them an ideal company to continue to move DEL106 forward.”

The deal represents a huge leap forward for Delinia in such a short space of time; back in September 2016, the autoimmune company were raising $35 million to develop the company and had only four full-time staff members.

It is a gamble for Celgene but this is the way larger companies are now building their pipelines. With Delinia’s lead candidate at the pre-clinical, everything will hinge on how well it progresses once tested on humans but it is the kind of gamble that can pay off – it certainly has for Delinia so far.

Ben Hargreaves

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