The $710 million Celgene Corp. is paying up front for Nogra Pharma Ltd.'s Crohn's disease agent goes well beyond the $100 million up fronts the big biotech is known for. The academic inventor of the compound says the reason why will be clear when Phase II data are presented this year.

GED-0301 is a first-generation oligonucleotide designed using what some might consider an outdated antisense technology. But its design also could prove to be a reminder that one recipe for success can be matching the right technology with an appropriate indication.