OncoMed Pharmaceuticals and Celgene Corporation have signed an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize up to six anti-cancer stem cell (CSC) product candidates from OncoMed's biologics pipeline.
Under the terms of the agreement, OncoMed will receive an upfront payment of $155 million.
OncoMed will control and conduct initial clinical studies at which point Celgene has an option to license worldwide rights to up to six novel anti-CSC therapeutic candidates. Celgene will also have research, development and commercialization rights to small molecule compounds in an undisclosed cancer stem cell pathway.
"Through this major alliance with Celgene, we gain substantial resources that will enable us to continue to discover and develop new therapeutics independently while positioning OncoMed for substantial potential downstream value and profits. Importantly, by retaining co-development and co-commercialization rights to up to five biologic product candidates in our pipeline, we expect to add commercial capabilities to our core research and development competencies as we continue to build a premier oncology biotherapeutics company. Celgene is a preeminent biopharmaceutical innovator with a successful track record of translating unique science into disease-altering therapies that benefit patients, healthcare and society. We can greatly benefit from their expertise and look forward to many years of successful collaboration."
Paul J. Hastings, OncoMed's Chairman and CEO.
Celgene obtains an exclusive option on one of OncoMed's most advanced clinical candidates, demcizumab, during or after the completion of certain future planned phase 2 clinical trials to be conducted by OncoMed. Demcizumab is currently in three phase 1b clinical studies in combination with standard-of-care therapeutics, including a trial in patients with first-line advanced pancreatic cancer.
The collaboration also includes option exercise payments and payments for achievement of development, regulatory and commercial milestones, paid on a per-program basis. For demcizumab, these payments could total up to approximately $790 million, and include an undisclosed payment for achievement of pre-determined safety criteria in phase 2 clinical trials.
"We are very pleased to enter into this broad based collaboration with OncoMed, one that holds great promise for cancer patients. Demcizumab's substantial early clinical activity warrants aggressive yet careful evaluation in several indications where we have strength, including non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. The earlier partnerships in the RSPO-LGR and another, undisclosed cancer stem cell pathway provide us complementary and strategically valuable targeting opportunities across both biologic and small molecule modalities in the cancer stem cell arena where OncoMed has provided leadership and great strength."
Tom Daniel, President, Global Research & Early Development, of Celgene.
Cancer stem cells, or CSCs, are the subpopulation of cells in a tumor responsible for driving growth and metastasis of the tumor. CSCs, also known as tumor-initiating cells, exhibit certain properties which include the capacity to divide and give rise to new CSCs via a process called self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate or change into the other cells that form the bulk of the tumor.