UPDATED: Adimab adds Celgene to high-profile clientele for antibody drug discovery

Adimab CEO Tillman Gerngross--Courtesy of Dartmouth University

Celgene has joined the ranks of the biotech company Adimab's collaborators, which now include several of the largest pharma and biotech companies in the world. A frequent partner of small biotech companies, the Summit, NJ-based biopharma giant ($CELG) has tapped Adimab to discover therapeutic antibodies against a slate of undisclosed targets.

Separately, Lebanon, NH-based Adimab has partnered with Chinese biotech company Innovent to discover an antibody drug. Innovent aims to develop and commercialize an antibody program from Adimab in China, with Adimab keeping rights to the program in the U.S., Europe and Japan. 

As in past deals, Adimab has left financial details out of the announcements about the Celgene and Innovent pacts. And none of the multiple targets involved in the deals is specified. In the Celgene agreement, Adimab says, the biopharma giant has agreed to pay an upfront fee to get the biotech startup running on a hunt for therapeutic antibodies, which the company discovers with its yeast-based system developed by CEO and co-founder Tillman Gerngross and his colleagues. And Adimab stands to gain license fees, milestone payments and potential royalties from Celgene on programs that Celgene licenses for development.

"We are very pleased to announce another major pharma partnership," said Gerngross. "Celgene has developed a highly successful oncology and inflammation franchise, and we are excited to partner with them to support their expanding antibody-based therapeutic portfolio."

In July, Adimab announced that Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) had both paid sizable sums to gain licenses to Adimab's discovery technology for in-house use. Over the past four years, Adimab has built an impressive roster of collaborators and partners, including Merck ($MRK), Roche ($RHHBY) and its U.S. subsidiary Genentech, Novartis ($NVS), Eli Lilly ($LLY), Novo Nordisk ($NVO), Gilead ($GILD) and Kyowa Hakko Kirin.

Adimab has also achieved technical milestones in its work for Gilead, Lilly and Kyowa Hakko Kirin, the company said today. Gerngross, whose company was featured in FierceBiotech's 2010 Fierce 15 report, said that his group expects to be profitable this year and pay its investors a dividend.

- read the release on the Celgene deal
- here's the release on the collaboration with Innovent

Special Report: Adimab - 2010 Fierce 15

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