Molecular model

Biopharmaceutical firm Abide Therapeutics has formed a strategic partnership with Celgene to discover and develop new drugs in inflammation and immunology.

Abide has engineered technologies to selectively target serine hydrolases, one of the largest enzyme families involved in regulating human physiology.

The proprietary Abide technology platform provides a unique highly selective small molecule collection that specifically targets the common catalytic site of serine hydrolases, conferring a rapid and effective method for target identification and validation.

Under the deal, Abide will apply its technology platform, which can selectively and near-universally target the over 200 members of the serine hydrolase ‘superfamily,’ to discover new therapeutic targets and drug candidates to treat patients with immune disorders.

The deal also includes, Abide’s most advanced compound, AB101131, which is scheduled to enter first human studies in 2015.

During the term of the collaboration, Abide intends to generate another three or four developmental candidates.

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Abide Therapeutics president and CEO Alan Ezekowitz said: "This relationship will support Abide with Celgene’s global expertise in discovery, development and commercialization of novel disease-altering therapies.

"We are enthusiastic about the team, the technology, and the potential to create landmark therapies."

"The creative terms of this deal enables Abide to focus the components of the drug discovery continuum that we do best. We cannot wait to begin working closely with the team at Celgene."

As part of the deal, Abide received an upfront payment from Celgene, which will take a small equity stake in Abide, as well as retain an exclusive option to acquire the company.

Abide is also eligible to receive an additional payments if Celgene exercises its option to license the rest of the world rights on the first two products that reach the clinic.

In addition, Abide could also get additional milestone payments, subject to the success of the development programmes.

Cardinal Partners, the existing venture investor of Abide, has also participated in the equity financing.

Celgene executive vice president and president of global research and early development Thomas Daniel said: "We are enthusiastic about the team, the technology, and the potential to create landmark therapies."

Image: Serine hydrolases play important regulatory roles in human physiology and disease. Photo: courtesy of