Celgene and Forma Therapeutics are expanding their already extensive relationship.
The Summit, NJ-based drugmaker has exercised a $195 million option to widen the breadth of the 2014 deal it signed with Forma to co-develop drugs for cancer and other therapeutic areas—an agreement that gave Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) the option to buy Forma down the road.
Under the new arrangement, Watertown, MA-based Forma will now help Celgene develop drugs for inflammation, immunology, and neurodegenerative diseases—therapeutic areas Celgene has zeroed in on to try to diversify beyond its core expertise in blood cancer therapies. Celgene has the option to license drug candidates that come from the arrangement through Oct. 1, 2019, though Forma has the option to keep U.S. rights to all of them.
Celgene can license each drug after Phase 1 testing, and would owe Forma milestone payments if the programs progress. Forma will keep rights to any compounds that Celgene chooses not to license.
The collaboration marks the third time Forma and Celgene have inked a deal in four years. Forma first joined forces with Celgene in 2013 in a more narrow drug development arrangement. Nearly a year later, the two companies struck another, much broader deal in which Celgene paid Forma $225 million to develop drugs in several different areas. That agreement also gave Celgene the chance to enter into yet another collaboration with Forma, and potentially buy Forma outright.