Celgene in Pact to Develop Autoimmune Drugs
Celgene Switzerland, an affiliate of Celgene, has formed a research collaboration with Anokion, a privately held biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Préverenges, Switzerland to develop drugs for treating autoimmune diseases.
Under the agreement, Anokion received a $45-million upfront payment and is eligible to receive a future payment of an additional $10 million based on certain preclinical development achievements. As part of the strategic collaboration agreement, Celgene obtained an equity interest in Anokion and the exclusive right to acquire Anokion at pre-specified option exercise points. During the option period, Anokion will retain full control of its research and development programs.
Anokion is advancing its antigen-specific immune tolerance platform to develop therapeutics for multiple autoimmune indications. Anokion’s approach to immune tolerance involves engineering antigens relevant to a broad range of autoimmune disorders to bind glycophorin A, a surface protein unique to red blood cells. When these circulating blood cells undergo apoptosis, the immune system recognizes the attached antigens and elicits a tolerogenic immune response against them, explains the company. Additionally, Anokion is developing a liver-targeted tolerance approach through which engineered antigens are attached to liver cells.