Biopharmaceutical company Cephalon has marked its entry into the field of biologics with the announcement that it has completed the acquisition of Australian biotechnology company, Arana Therapeutics Limited.

Through the deal Cephalon will acquire an established protein engineering technology platform to transform proteins, including antibodies, into potent drug candidates. The lead biologic in the portfolio (ART621) is the first domain antibody to enter a Phase II clinical programme for rheumatoid arthritis.

Cephalon chairman and CEO Frank Baldino Jr said that he was excited about the advanced biological and molecular technology expertise that Arana brings to Cephalon.

“With biologics in inflammatory diseases and clinical candidates in oncology for solid tumours, this acquisition will catalyse the entry of Cephalon into the biologics space,” Baldino said.

Additional biologics acquired by Cephalon include: a RANKL inhibitor for bone metastases; one targeting a novel epitope for colorectal cancer in collaboration with Kyowa Hakko-Kirin; one targeting gangliosides for small cell lung cancer and melanoma; and one targeting IL 12 /23 for psoriasis and Crohn’s disease as well as other earlier-stage opportunities.