- Acetylon Pharmaceuticals is spinning out a new business as the company prepares for Celgene to take it over in a deal worth more than half a billion dollars.
- The Boston biotech unveiled plans to create Regenacy Pharmaceuticals on Friday in addition to its deal with Celgene. The new company will focus on developing drugs that affect how substances move inside a cell and how genes react to different stimuli. It will hold exclusive rights to ACY-1215 (ricolinostat), a Phase 2 histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) inhibitor, and a few other preclinical HDAC inhibitor candidates.
- HDACs are a group of enzymes that regulate DNA. They are associated with switching off gene expression, and have been known to play a role in cancer progression. Regenacy, however, will investigate HDAC inhibitor drugs for non-cancer illnesses such as beta-thalassemia, neuropathies and sickle cell disease, Acetylon said in a Dec. 2 statement.
Meanwhile, Celgene will maintain sole rights to all of the Acetylon's HDAC6 inhibitor programs, intellectual property and drug candidates.
While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the two companies entered into a pact back in 2013 that gave Celgene exclusive rights to acquire Acetylon at a later date. Celgene dropped $100 million for those rights, and agreed to pay at least $500 million for the target company if it ever decided to follow through with an acquisition.
The overall pricetag on Acetylon is likely much larger than that $600 million, however. Celgene also offered up to $250 million and $850 million in regulatory and sales milestone payments, respectively, meaning the deal could total $1.7 billion – or even more if Celgene forked over more than the $500 million floor price.
"Celgene is the optimal partner to realize the fullest potential of Acetylon’s selective HDAC6 inhibitor programs in multiple myeloma and other oncology indications," Acetylon Chairman Marc Cohen said in the Dec. 2 statement. "Their intimate knowledge of citarinostat and extensive experience in oncology make them uniquely qualified to continue development of these exciting programs.”
According to the statement, Regenacy will receive operational funding from Acetylon and work out of the company's Boston headquarters. Acetylon's executive team will also transfer over to Regenacy.