Celgene buys into experimental cancer med from Triphase

Celgene and Triphase already have long-standing ties.

Celgene, already heavily involved with the biotech, has announced a deeper tie-up with private co Triphase Accelerator that sees it buy into its proteasome inhibitor.

Under the deal, financial details of which were being kept under their shirts (although an upfront payment has been made and biobucks are on the table), Celgene has acquired all of the biotech’s assets relating to its proteasome inhibitor, marizomib (MRZ), which is in development for glioblastoma (one of the most aggressive brain cancers) and relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma.

Celgene now has full responsibility for the FDA orphan-tagged marizomib, and will pay the Toronto and San Diego-based Triphase to complete an ongoing Phase I relapsed refractory multiple myeloma (a cancer area it already caters for), as well as a midstage test in recurrent glioma, and another Phase I in newly diagnosed glioma. The drug is being tested in both IV and oral versions.

There are deep R&D connections between the two, and most recently this has seen Triphase has work on marizomib as a combo therapy with Celgene’s Imnovid (pomalidomide), as well as dexamethasone, in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. The med is also being trialled with Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab) is certain brain cancer patients.

The drug, a brain-penetrant proteasome inhibitor, inhibits all three proteasome subunits. 

Celgene too has this year backed other companies in their efforts to tackle brain cancers, which have a poor survival rate and can hit younger patients, as back in July, the Big Biotech helped back the newly unveiled Oncorus in a $57 million play to help with its efforts to use next-gen oncolytic viruses to treat glioblastoma.

“This acquisition validates the potential of marizomib based on early clinical results. Our vision is to become a leading early stage oncology drug development company, and this first opt-in by Celgene brings us a step closer to achieving that goal,” said Mohit Trikha, CSO at Triphase Accelerator Corporation.

“Just as importantly, this transaction affords us the opportunity to accelerate our efforts on advancing other assets in our pipeline.”

Celgene’s president of hematology oncology, Michael Pehl, added: “Consistent with our deep commitment and passion for the patients, glioblastoma is an area of significant unmet medical need, and Celgene is committed to helping these patients. We are pleased with Triphase Accelerator’s rapid and high quality work to date, and we value the exceptional collaboration we have with them to advance marizomib.”